Residents in 28 communities along the Ankobora Basin in the Western region risk contracting waterborne diseases from drinking water from the faecal matter infested basin.
This is according to a study carried out to assess the quality of water bodies in the said communities within the basin. The researchers found that open defecation may be prevalent in the communities upstream of the basin, hence the presence of feacal matter in the basin.
They were not emphatic because they found no human excreta in and around the rivers but indicated a lot of refuse dumps were found along the stretch of the water bodies. This according to the researchers tells why the basin is contaminated with faecal matter.
The inhabitants of the communities along the basin use the water bodies for cooking, washing, bathing and swimming, the report said.
The study further indicated that various contaminated water bodies were used to irrigate and moisten vegetables like cabbage, tomato, cucumber, carrot, lettuce, onion that gets to the market and often are consumed raw as salads.
Again the test outlined high microbial contamination of the water bodies as almost all surface water contained various forms of faecal substances, the Conservation Foundation (CF) – Water Resources Commission(WRC) study reported.
However, it explained that the contamination were more in surface water than groundwater.
A non-governmental organization (NGO), CF and WRC – Ankobora Basin Office, collaborated to carry out the research.
The affected communities, mostly in the Tarkwa-Nsuaem, Prestea Huni-Valley, Wassa Amenfi East, Wassa East districts, include Dadwen, Kofikrom, Domeabra, Tarkwa Banso, New Techiman, Kyekyewere, Essaman Kakraba, Simpa, Bonsa, Ankwawso, Bepo and Mile Ten and Half.
The others are Efuanta, Kutukrom, Tumentu, Dwira Nsuaem, Awudua, Prestea, Esuoso, Atieku, Anwia, Asasetre, Wassa Akropong, Bawdie, Hiawa, Ampansie, Bamiankor, Domenase and Bonsawire.
The study is part of the ongoing Watershed Project, under the Integrate Water Resources Management (IWRM) and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) initiatives. The initiatives are aimed at tackling issues regarding the contamination nature of water resources and eco-systems from which diseases can be contracted.
By: Kofi Boateng
Joe Bright Nyarko
Journalist/Communication Researcher. Environment & Sustainability Advocate. Managing Editor of aptnewsghana.com, a non-profit news portal with bias towards environment and sustainability issues, rural development policies and gender & inequality.