The European Union Delegation to Ghana and its counterpart Vitens-Evides International, in collaboration with the Government of Ghana, on Thursday launched the screening of a water quality documentary christened “Ghana Water, Our Water: Quality First.”
The documentary, produced by a Ghanaian movie production company, Creative Storm, focused on the issue of poor water quality in Ghana, and highlighted on developed standards for improving the capacities of the Ghana Water Company Limited through improved water testing methodology, water testing laboratories, and potable water kits for schools.
Mr Ignacio Burrull, Head of Co-operation, European Union (EU) Delegation to Ghana, said Ghana had made significant progress in providing access to improved water sources to 80 per cent of the population, as well as eliminated guinea worm from the country, an achievement in which the EU played a role.
He said despite these successes, about 4000 children still died each year from diarrhea and about 23 per cent of Ghanaian children suffered from chronic malnutrition linked to poor water and sanitation.
Mr Burrull said between June 2014 and February 2015 almost 30,000 people were reported to be infected with cholera; leaving almost 300 dead of the disease during that short period, adding that “these numbers indicate the complex struggles Ghana is facing to assure proper water and sanitation facilities.”
He said the water sector in Ghana had been subjected to institutional reforms with a new policy framework and strategy, and one of the main achievements had been the new National Water Policy.
He said it had contributed in giving access to clean water and sanitation facilities to more Ghanaians.
Mr Burrull said activities of illegal miners (galamsey) and uncontrolled use of fertilizers and agro-chemicals close to water bodies formed threats to human and environmental health through lethal pollution of surface waters while rampant deforestation led to increasing evaporation of water resources in regions where water was becoming even more scarce.
He said the documentary also highlighted the achievements realised by an EU-funded “Water Quality Monitoring and Surveillance,” which is currently being implemented by Vitens-Evides, a social venture made of two Dutch water providers and the Ghana Water Company.
Mr Burrull said the aim of the project is to improve standards and delivery of quality water in Accra, Kumasi and Takoradi.
He, therefore, expressed the hope that the project would contribute in creating a momentum to raise the awareness on the importance of water quality to help decision-makers take into account the needs of the end-users.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency, Mr Frederick Addae, Director of Water, Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing, said the programme put together by the Government and supported by the EU aims at sensitising the public on the quality and state at which our water bodies were being destroyed.
He said there were a number of policies designed by the Ministry to preserve water bodies, indicating that at a certain distance from a river, people were not allowed to farm or apply chemicals among other things.
Mr Addae urged the public to help preserve the water bodies and as well join the campaign in addressing the quality of water from the source to its consumption.
The screening of the documentary forms part of activities marking this year’s Europe Week celebrations under the theme: “EU & Ghana in Partnership for a Better World,” which is also to mark this year’s European Year for Development. GNA