Among the key things humans need to survive on this earth, water happens to be one of them. As the saying goes "water is life. One cannot live without water, which only proves its essence in human life. Many of our foods such as fish, crabs, and lobsters live in water. As a matter of fact keeping our water bodies safe and clean is expected of us.
In Ghana, there are various water bodies such as the rivers, seas, lakes, wells, lagoons, springs etc. Among those water bodies, rivers are used significantly in the country. Rivers are among the most important sources of fresh water in the country and contaminating it will not only harm us as humans but also the aquatic ecosystems.
River pollution is a form of pollution that refers to the contamination of rivers. It occurs when waste and different other pollutants are discharged into rivers without being properly treated. In Ghana and many other African countries, it has generally been a serious problem.
There are many causes of river pollution which include illegal mining activities, dumping of refuse in the rivers, the use of DDT to fish among others. Illegal mining activities are one of the very major causes as far as river pollution is concerned. Many rivers in Ghana such as the Pra River, Birim River and River Ankobra get polluted the most in the country due to the illegal mining activities in those areas.
One will be wondering why everything is centered on illegal mining activities as a major cause of river pollution in Ghana.
It is because when extracting gold, one needs mercury for the processing and the excess mercury left is thrown back in our river. This contaminates the water and renders it not portable. In short, it pollutes it.
The country is not at a very critical stage as far as river pollution is concerned but the major problem the country is faced with in terms of pollution of our rivers is in the mining areas where illegal mining activities popularly known as GALAMSEY are in session.
However, many attempts have been made by the government to control the situation and they are yet to make a significant mark in those mining communities. Comparatively, it is not the same thing happening in the other areas where there are no mining activities. The government has put a lot of interventions in place by setting up a task force to control the illegal mining activities polluting our rivers.
In order to tackle the issue of river pollution, people need to show more care for our environment in general. There also needs to be a better and far more frequent monitoring of our rivers as well as strict punishment for polluters.
The worst affected areas should come together to work hand in hand and see to the safety of their rivers because having polluted water doesn't only cause huge environmental damage but economic damage.
Improving the quality of our rivers is certainly a very important task that needs to be addressed properly at all levels being it local, regional and national. Healthy rivers mean healthy environment and healthy environment means a healthy life.
NB: The Writer is a Communicator, lover of feminism, development advocate, Journalist, striving Muslimah.