Sand winning dangerous as galamsey – GWCL

Prosper K. Kuorsoh, GNA

Navrongo, (U/E), Aug.
6, GNA – The sand winning menace is posing similar level of danger to Ghana’s
environment and water resources as compared to illegal small scale mining
popularly known as “galamsey”.

The practice involved
the digging of soil upstream which results in particles of sand moving into the
water downstream making it very dirty and causing high turbidity.

Mr Nicholas H. Okyere,
Northern Regional Water Quality Assurance Manager of the Ghana Water Company
Limited in Tamale, made this known in an interview with the Ghana News Agency
on the sideline of the University for Development Studies/Community Water and
Sanitation Agency (UDS/CWSA) First Water and Sanitation Hygiene (WASH)
Conference held at the UDS campus in Navrongo in the Upper East Region.

Mr Okyere explained
that when this happened it required the addition of more chemicals (alum) to
the water before all dirty particles in it could settle.

He said too much use
of alum often resulted in the water turning acidic, which required another chemical
to remove the acidity in order to make the water more alkaline.

“Too much use of
chemicals affects water tariffs,” he disclosed.

Mr Okyere observed
that as the water flowed, particles of the soil settled in the sump and
contributed to destroying the pump faster when put to use.

He said the GWCL was
raising the concern because the pumps that were replaced in 2008, had lost
their efficiency due to continuous breakdowns.

He hinted that GWCL
invested about GHc million Ghana to replace the pumps.

He warned that if the
uncontrolled sand winning upstream the raw water abstraction point continued,
the pumps were likely to give up their functionality.

Mr Okyere called for
appropriate disposal of waste especially plastic, saying the inappropriate
disposal of such products had damning repercussions on the operations of the

He cited the Nawuni
community in the Northern Region located upstream the raw water abstraction
point, where the people had develop too close to the river resulting in their
waste being washed into the resource.

“The effect is that
the polythene bags come to block the strainers of the pump and when that
happens, the pumps are denied access to water which affects the pump itself and
the company’s production levels,” he noted.

He said taking lessons
from the Weija Head Works, the presence of Military at the Nawuni Community
site would help bring the sand winning menace under control.

He called on the
government and the media to extend the fight against the galamsey menace to
cover sand winning.

The three-day
conference organised was on the theme: “WASH: The Successes, Challenges and the
Way Forward with Academia.”

It brought together
players from the academia, civil society, governmental agencies, the private
sector and the media among others to share ideas on how to improve the WASH
sector in the country.

It was sponsored by
WaterAid Ghana, SNV Netherlands Development Organisation, Catholic Relieve
Services and World Vision International.


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