Thursday, April 2, 2015

Weija Lake area to get military base

By Edmund Smith-Asante, ACCRA

Plans are advanced for the establishment of a military base near the Weija Lake to prevent further pollution of one of Accra’s major water sources.

This follows successful deliberations between the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) and the Water Resources Commission (WRC) for constant military presence around the lake in order to curb the incessant pollution of the water source.

Disclosing this to the Daily Graphic at the commemoration of World Water Day (WWD) in Accra yesterday, Mr Ronald Abrahams, Principal Basin Officer, Densu Basin, said, “In fact construction of the base has begun as we speak.”

The Weija Head Works of the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) serves residents of Accra West with treated water from the Weija Lake, which has been seriously polluted through human activities around it.
In view of the gravity of the pollution of the lake, the GWCL incurs a very huge cost in treatment of the water for Accra’s residents.

Aquaculture polluting water sources

Mr Abrahams said the decision to turn the Weija Lake area into a military base was one of the measures that had been put in place to eliminate cage culture in the lake, which had been identified as one of the major pollutants of the water source.

He stated that the feed given to the fish, as well as other organic matter such as the droppings of the fishes, polluted the water, adding that letters had been written to cage owners asking them to relocate downstream.

“We give permits for aquaculture but not in critical areas that will affect the quality of water that is treated. A permit is needed to do aquaculture to enable the WRC to regulate the activities of those engaging in it. The GWCL, for instance, pays for extraction of water and we have to protect their interest.

“We are not saying no to aquaculture, but it must not be done in a manner that will create a negative impact,” he said.

The Executive Secretary of the WRC, Mr Ben Ampomah, said the Weija and Bosomtwe lakes had been made no go areas for aquaculture, while the commission had embarked on a research on the carrying capacity (limit) of the Volta Lake for aquaculture and when that was done, a cap would be put on aquaculture activities on the lake.

Ensuring sustainable development

Delivering a statement as one of the three key speakers at the WWD commemoration, which was on the theme, “Water and Sustainable Development”, Mr Abrahams said if unchecked, ecosystem degradation would undermine the achievement of Ghana’s development and might lead to the total collapse of essential ecosystems such as freshwater bodies and forests.

He said to ensure sustainable development, the government, policy makers, planners, industrialists and society as a whole should properly coordinate ecological approaches with the economic and social approaches.

That, he said, would result in improvement in ecosystem health, improvement in public health, strict law enforcement on natural resources conservation and environmental protection, among other benefits.

Mr Abraham also noted that regulators and the general public needed to emphasise natural resources conservation and sustainable use instead of outright exploitation, while development projects, especially for local communities, should be ecologically sound.

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This story was first published by the Daily Graphic on March 24, 2015

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