20 February 2013

Ghana: Gbevlo Seizes Chemicals

Information gathered by The Chronicle indicate that National Security operatives moved in on Monday night to impound about 300 bags of expired Aluminum Sulphate at the Weija treatment plant of the Ghana Water Company.

This was after the cover was blown off a clandestine attempt to secretly use the expired chemicals to treat the water at the plant for onward distribution to unsuspecting Ghanaians.

Earlier information indicated that the chemicals, which were imported from China in 2011, got into the country in June 2012, when its expiry date was due.

Sources say pressure has since been mounted on personnel of the Ghana Water Company to quickly distribute the chemicals to the various treatment plants across the nation for use, in blatant disregard for the health problems their action could cause the millions of customers they serve.

Currently, there are fears that some of the chemicals had already found their way into the systems of unsuspecting consumers, as information gathered indicate that nationwide distribution of the expired chemicals and the likelihood that some had already been used for the treatment of water, is not in doubt.

This latest addition to the already acute water crisis, coupled with the quality of water that reaches the homes of many Ghanaians lately, has raised serious concern about the safety of the consumer whose very existence depends on this basic, yet a scarce commodity in the country.

When The Chronicle contacted the Public Relations Officer of the Water Company, Mr. Stanley Martey on the issue, he was evasive and snobbish in his response to the questions posed to him.

According to him, the Ghana Water Company is girding up its loins to respond "appropriately" to the allegations being peddled by the media against the company, but could not say whether the reports were false.

When pressed further for a concrete response to the issues concerning the expired chemicals, he lost out on ideas and angrily hanged up.

Research has revealed the fact that an accumulation of aluminum in the body is a risk factor, not only for Alzheimer's disease but may also be linked to other neurological conditions, such as Parkinson's and other diseases.

The debate on the dangers of high amount of Aluminum in the human body took centre stage after what became known as Britain's mass poisoning case, when a delivery driver mistakenly dumped 20 tons of aluminum sulphate into a wrong tank at a treatment plant.

The immediate effect of this error came along with reported cases of rashes, diarrhoea, mouth ulcers and other health problems.

The water authority was subsequently fined an amount of £10,000 - with £25,000 costs - after being convicted of supplying water likely to endanger public health. But this is highly unlikely to happen in Ghana, even if persons are found culpable of complicity in this case.

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