Toxic pollution at New Takoradi – Lots of people poisoned, thousands of fishes dead

A toxic chemical said to be used in the treatment of wood has been discharged into the Butuah Lagoon, near New Takoradi, by an unknown timber company, resulting in the death of more than 40,000 fish in the lagoon.

Some residents of New Takoradi, a community near the lagoon, who ate the dead fish suffered runny stomach and dehydration and had to be rushed to a nearby hospital for attention.

The Butuah Lagoon is a protected area for fishing and breeding of marine species. A large tract of wetland near the lagoon which serves as a buffer zone against flood has been heavily polluted.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has launched investigations into the disposal of the toxic chemical into the lagoon to find out who was responsible.

The Assemblyman for New Takoradi, Mr E. E. Adoko, and the Chief Fisherman of New Takoradi, Nana Kow Ackon, said when residents got to know of the incident, they contacted various industries located within the area but each of them denied discharging waste into the lagoon.

Nana Ackon said to avoid the overpowering stench from the dead fish and prevent people from collecting the contaminated fish for consumption, the fisherfolk had so far collected more than eight canoes full of fish to the shore and buried them.

When contacted, the EPA officials said initial investigation by the agency had indicated that the toxic chemical was discharged by a timber firm in the metropolis after the company had used the chemical in processing wood.

According to the EPA officials, the chemical was very irritating and that they had found a sump near the lagoon containing milky substance similar to what killed the fish in the lagoon.

They said after taking some fish samples from the estuary, the lagoon, the waste matter and the sump for examination, Zoil, a subsidiary of Zoomlion, was requested to help clean up the beach, the estuary and the banks of the lagoon.

The EPA officials indicated their intention to sustain the education of communities near the lagoon while carrying out investigation to identify the timber firm which was responsible for the discharge of the toxic chemical.

“The issue will be brought to the attention of the Western Regional Coordinating Council, the Ghana Health Service and the Food and Drugs Board in view of the health implications of the discharge,” the officials

Source: Daily Graphic

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