Water Bodies Contaminated With Faecal Matter

It has emerged that some water bodies within the Ankobra River Basin of the Western Region are highly contaminated with faecal matter due to open defecation and other human activities.

This came to light when a team from Conservation Foundation (CF), an NGO and Water Resources Commission (WRC) at the Ankobra Basin office conducted an assessment of the quality of water in 28 communities around the basin.

The communities include Dadwen, Kofikrom, Domeabra, Tarkwa Banso, New Techiman, Kyekyewere, Essaman Kakraba, Simpa, Bonsa, Ankwawso, Bepo and Mile 10.

The rest are Efuanta, Kutukrom, Tumentu, Dwira Nsuaem, Awudua, Prestea, Esuoso, Atieku, Anwia, Asasetre, Wassa Akropong, Bawdie, Hiawa, Ampansie, Bamiankor, Domenase and Bonsawire.

The study formed part of the ongoing Watershed Project which seeks to Integrate Water Resources Management (IWRM) and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH).

The team took samples of water from rivers, streams bore holes and hand dug wells in the communities and conducted the tests within 14 days.

The Executive Director of CF, Osei Yaw Owusu-Sekyere, said that about 39 water samples were collected from the water bodies in the basin and tested on site for Escherichia coli (E. coli), Nitrate, Alkalinity, Hardness and pH, among others.

“Even though the team did not see any faecal matter or human excreta in and around the banks where samples were taken, there were lots of refuse dumps along the stretch of the water bodies,” adding “that is an indication that open defecation may be going on upstream.”

Mr. Owusu-Sekyere said it was observed that every water body within the areas the study was conducted had a refuse dump located closer to it.

“The banks of the rivers and the streams have also been turned to gutters, refuse dumps and toilet places where people defecate openly into the water bodies,” he added.

According to Mr. Owusu-Sekyere, the team would compile all the results and meet the communities and inform them about the repercussions of their actions towards and environment and other health implications.

He called on the government agencies, the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) and the public to collaborate to ensure open defecation ends in the country.

He appealed to the government to help provide the communities with boreholes and other sources of potable water since most of the communities depended on dugouts, rivers and streams as their sources of drinking water.

The Assistant Ankobra Basin Officer of the Water Resources Commission (WRC), Francis Acquah-Swanzy, called on persistent public education on the need for people to keep their surroundings clean and stop open defecation.