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General News
Ghana’s sea fish affected by the fecal contamination 3/19/2011

While majority of Ghanaians like to eat sea fish with local dishes such as kenkey, banku, akple , atseke , tuo zafi, wakye and many others, there is a clear and present danger awaiting them as their fish might not be so healthy. The practice of pumping untreated faeces into the sea at “lavender hill” near Chorkor and other points along Ghana’s coast line poses a serious threat to the health of all sea fish consumers in the country as the practice has the potential of contaminating the fish before they are harvested.
This situation is a clear manifestation of Ghana’s inability to deal with over 50% of her waste especially faecal waste. Efforts by the Accra Metropolitan Assembly and its mother ministry the local government ministry to deal with waste in the capital and across the country has had so much resources expended on it, with AMA spending over 90 % of its income on waste management. However little has been, and is being achieved, in spite of the heavy expenditure and visible efforts being made to find a lasting solution to Ghana’s waste problem.
In August 2010 president Mills in a speech read on his behalf to the Pharmaceutical society of Ghana in Kumasi had cause to complain about the threat posed by high level of expensive antibiotic prescription to the survival of the National Health Insurance Scheme.
But the question has been whether government has established the linkage between our lifestyle and the disease infection rates that require the administration of antibiotics to treat. For instance the five week old cholera outbreak which has claimed over 34 lives so far is a regular occurrence in Ghana, a country which attained middle income status in 2010.
According to the latest Ghana Demographic and Health Survey report sanitation related diseases accounted for over 70 % of all Out Patient cases reported throughout Ghana in 2008.
Deputy local government and rural development minister, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah bemoaned the practice of dumping untreated shit into the sea at “Lavender Hill” near Korle Gornor expressing the fear that Ghana’s sea fish might not be wholesome after all.
In addition to the above practice is the phenomenon of night soil carriers emptying faecal matter into the drains in the city causing a lot of foul stench even along the famous Osu Oxford Street.
“It is very appalling that Osu Oxford Street which is supposed to be Ghana’s most advanced street with a lot of tourist activity also has faeces poured into its drains every night,” Mr.Afriyie Ankrah lamented A field work carried out by Ghana Watsan Journalist Network(GWJN) on World Toilet Day in November last year revealed how the popular 7 km Odaw drain stretching from Tetteh Quarshie Interchange to Odawna at Kwame Nkrumah Circle has become the toilet joint for most of the communities along its banks. The network showed pictures of people defaecating into the storm drain right behind the Paloma Hotel, on the Ring-Road Central, with all the shit flowing into the Odaw for onward transmission into the sea where the bulk of Ghana’s fish breeds.
Although there is not yet any empirical research on the health implications of consuming sea fish from Ghana’s territorial sea with all the contaminants, there is a growing apprehension among those who are aware of the volume of s** t pumped into the sea from Aflao to Half Assini.
The deputy minister however promised that government was working at dealing with the non-treatment of faeces in the country.
“The Accra Sewerage Improvement Project (ASIP) and the Urban Environmental Sanitation Project (UESP) are currently underway, and through that we shall rehabilitating four treatment plants in the city including the Achimota and Tema plants which will take care of treating faeces before it is pumped out,” Mr. Afriyie Ankrah who spoke to this reporter on the sides of the Public Forum on Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) at the University of Ghana Legon, disclosed.
He called on all Ghanaians to take up the issue of sanitation at personal level since “we are all at risk.”



 
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