Protection of waterbodies not preserve of government – Regional Minister   

Justina Marigold Assan – Regional Minister

The Central Regional Minister, has issued a clarion call on all citizens to unite and protect the country’s waterbodies to avert a looming crisis and conflict over water scarcity.  

Justina Marigold Assan, contended that the protection of waterbodies and the general environment was not the preserve of government or any public institution but a civic responsibility of every citizen.  

Speaking at a World Water Day forum organised by the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Cape Coast (UCC), she bemoaned the irresponsible destruction and pollution of Ghana’s waterbodies with illegal mining (galamsey) and warned of dangerous consequences.  

She touted government’s efforts at tackling the menace but acknowledged the difficulties in the fight and called for national support in the spirit of preserving lives and avoiding conflicts.  

“It is a collective responsibility which calls for a strong inter-sectoral collaboration among all key stakeholders including government, security agencies, traditional authorities and indeed every well-meaning Ghanaian,” she said.  

“Water safety ought to be our responsibility, for without water, life on earth will be extinct,” she added.  

The World Water Day is a day set aside to reflect and sensitise the world on the need to use water responsibly and to protect water resources to preserve lives.  

This year’s celebration was on the theme: “Water for Peace.” 

The observation by the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, UCC, brought together a wide range of stakeholders including Ghana Water Limited (GWL), Community Water and Sanitation, Zoomlion, Junior and Senior High Schools and heads of schools, among others. 

The regional minister observed that tensions could arise over water crisis in Ghana, and even among nations and therefore stressed the need for a united front to protect the waterbodies.  

Seth Eric Atiapah, Central Regional Chief Manager of GWL, described the rate of water destruction in Ghana as disturbing, frightening, and warned that the future was “bleak and gloomy.” 

He said the scarcity of water undermined the foundation of peace and stability and cautioned that if clean water became the preserve of the affluence, there would be an outbreak of crimes in the country.  

He bemoaned the challenges faced by GWL because of galamsey resulting in high turbidity and high cost of production which had made it difficult to treat water.  

He called on authorities to mete out stringent punishments for people who exploited and degraded the environment for their own gains.  

Citing climate change as another threat to available water, called for the development of adaptation and mitigation mechanisms to absorb the shocks of climate change.  

Mr Atiapah further advocated for investments in innovative technologies and infrastructural upgrade which were essential to improving water treatment processes and ensuring the delivery of safe and reliable water services to all.  

“However, some investments must be accompanied by robust governance mechanisms and enforcement measures to prevent further pollution and degradation of our tater sources,” he added.  

“On this water day, I call on all who have stakes for the present and who care for the future to commit ourselves to the cause of preserving our precious water resources to make it available and affordable to prevent any disturbances and instabilities to our personal and world peace,” he said.  

Prof. Robert Sarpong Amoah, the Dean of School of Sustainable Engineering, UCC, reiterated the call for a united front to protect waterbodies for peace and prosperity.  

He expressed worry that the country was taking its water resources for granted and polluting them through irresponsible activities and warned that water scarcity could spark violent conflicts in the country.  

He said Ghana had about 54 billion cubic metres of water resources but was grappling with inadequate access to the right quality and quantity of water.  

“We can have peace and prosperity if all people everywhere always have access to the right quality and quantity of water for our diverse uses.  

“By working together to support this worthy cause and making sure everybody has access to clean and safe drinking water, we can all help to reduce the conflicts and make the world a more peaceful and prosperous place for all,” he said. 

Prof Peter Appiah Obeng, Head of Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, said water scarcity had dire economic consequences and joined the clarion call to preserve the country’s water resources.  

He said UCC was keen to addressing water challenges confronting Ghana and the world at large and was taking concrete step towards same.  

“The entire world is talking about sustainable development and as a university, we are keen to play that leadership role that we have always loved to do; being torchbearer in any area of life.  

“Because of our passion about issues of water and what we can do to advance the cause of potable water, public health and sanitation, we have started with a programme in water and public health engineering which took off this year,” he said.  

He said the university to committed to encouraging local level action and instilling in the youth a sense of responsibility and environmental stewardship.  

Source: GNA  

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