Danger! Toxic building sand being used in Akwamufie, Atimpoku

Truckloads of toxic lead-contaminated building sand bound for disposal have been sold to some residents of Akwamufie and Atimpoku in the Eastern Region to be used for construction work.

Environmental experts fear the sand, which was used in removing paints from the iron railings on the Adomi Bridge and contains high amount of hazardous chemicals like lead, chromium and iron, could have serious health implications on residents.

Investigation by tv3network.com reveals some local truck drivers contracted to cart the contaminated sand to a designated site for disposal diverted and sold the sand to some unsuspecting residents in the two towns at a cheap price of GHC100 per truckload.

More than 50 residents purchased some of the contaminated sand, TV3’s Yvonne Neequaye reports, adding that some residents have already started using the sand for various construction works like moulding of sandcrete blocks,.

The Environmental Protection Agency, which did an analysis of the sand is warning the use of the contaminated sand could have serious side effects on the people but the residents say they are unaware of the was contaminated, Yvonne reports.

The EPA has meanwhile given a week ultimatum to the construction firm which did the renovation work on the Adomi Bridge to retrieve the contaminated sand from the communities or face sanctions. Although the residents say they are willing to hand over the sand to authorities, they want their money back.

Ghana Highway’s Authority site engineer, Nyantakyi Baah and Bilfinger Project Manager, Dr Paul Hermann have denied being part of the illegal sale of the contaminated soil,  and have promise to track the contracted private truck drivers involved for arrest possible prosecution, if found culpable

Eastern Regional Director of EPA Felix Okyireh they will undertake further analysis after the sand have been collected from the communities to ensure that there is no danger.

The Asuogyaman District Chief Executive Thomas Apem  Nyarko, told TV3 safety precautions would be taken in the matter and has also asked the District Security Committee to also intervene in the matter.

By Stephen Kwabena Effah| 3news.com
Twitter @steviekgh

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