Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Ghana: National Security investigates use of expired chemicals to treat water

Evidence is emerging that the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) might have purified water running through consumers' taps with expired chemicals.

Joy News has learnt that National Security officials are taking the report first captured in the New Crusading Guide newspaper very seriously and have dispatched BNI operatives to the Weija water treatment plant to carry out further investigations. 

The Aluminium Sulphate or Alum imported from China by the Ghana Urban Water Company to purify tap water expired in June last year raising serious public health questions. 

Public Affairs Director of Ghana Standards Authority, Kofi Amponsah Bediako told Joy FM’s Top Story the Authority would take samples of the chemical for testing to ascertain “how long it has expired and the efficacy level”. 

“The danger is that its efficiency will go down,” he noted.

He said if they are able to establish that the chemical is dangerous, the water company would be asked to stop using it.

Mr Amponsah Bediako however absolved GSA from any blame. He said it made economical sense for the company to import large quantity of the chemical, and the GSA cannot be blamed if the product expired because it was not used within the required time.

Mr Ben Arthur, Executive Secretary of the Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation, said the issue is very crucial for Ghanaians especially those who drink water from the tap.

He recommended that an independent investigation is conducted into the matter to ascertain the quality of water being distributed by GWCL. He also questioned why a company would want to use expired chemicals to treat water for human consumption.

At the heart of the questions that must be answered is whether the expired chemical was actually used in purifying water for consumers and on what scale it was used. 

Meanwhile, Public Affairs Director of the Ghana Water Company Limited, Stanley Martey told Joy News the company has not used the expired chemical in question. 

He therefore assured the public that the water being distributed by the GWCL was wholesome and of the “best quality”.


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