Birim pollution forces shutdown of water plant in Kyebi; residents resort to one borehole

Residents at Kyebi in the Akim East Municipality of the Eastern Region queue at the only borehole in the area to access potable water. Their taps have stop running for months. The Ghana Water Company Limited has suspended the water treatment plant at Kyebi due to pollution and high turbidity levels. Taps have stopped running for weeks. Residents from Kyebi, Nima, Obronikrom, Nsuoasi and its environs struggle to access water. On daily basis, they queue at the only borehole to have water, walking from far and near. School children, workers and residents including women carrying kids are affected more by the cutoff of water. It’s a sad story of a community blessed with natural water but has to be at the mercy of it due to irresponsible activities. “We queue for water by this borehole provided for us by a benevolent organization,” a resident said. “Our business is being affected, my hairdressing saloon can hardly operate. We spend long hours trying to get buckets of water to use.” “We walk from Nima to this place to access water. It gets worse in the morning, and when pupils close from school.” The assemblyman of the area says there is a task force in place to monitor irresponsible mining, expressing hope that a new District Chief Executive will enforce stiffer laws. The cause of their water shortage is not far-fetched, the Ghana Water plant in the community cannot treat the polluted water it takes from River Birem. High turbidity levels of 3,000 from the normal 1,800 have caused the plant to be suspended. The plant was expected to supply 39,000 gallons daily but was under supplying with 15,000. As at March 22, the water facility has been suspended. The Chief Manager of the Eastern Region Ghana Water Company, Phillip Boateng, is worried Sustainable Goal VI may not be achieved if pollution at the current rate still continues. [caption id="attachment_46249" align="alignnone" width="563"] Ghana Water Company Limited’s plant at Kibi has been shut down[/caption] Addressing a durbar at Kyebi, he spoke about the devastating  effect of waste water from galamsey operations which include pollution and drying up of water bodies. This has resulted in less water for treatment, reduction in aquatic organisms, loss of farmland and other effects due to use of poisonous chemicals like mercury and cyanide. He pointed out that there was the need to redefine environmental policies and their enforcement to sustain the water resources. The Eastern Region Minister, Eric Kwakye Daffour, regretted the high level of pollution of critical rivers in the Region. He adds that there was the need to have a passionate discussion to re-examine the challenges to safe water supply in the Region and noted the youth needs a lot of education and orientation while chiefs must commit their will against the galamsey menace as security services rise to the task.

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By Yvonne Neequaye||Ghana ]]>