Leave rivers in their natural state— Nana Dwomoh Sarpong

BY: Kwame Asare Boadu
A portion of the Subin River which has been converted into a drain at the Abinkyi Market in Kumasi
A portion of the Subin River which has been converted into a drain at the Abinkyi Market in Kumasi

All over the world, rivers have a direct bearing on the livelihoods of the people in towns or communities through which they flow.

In many countries, rivers provide the people with sources of income.

But over the years, some river courses, especially in the cities and big towns, in the country have been converted into gutters, a development which the environmental organisation, Friends of Rivers and Water Bodies, believes is counterproductive.

The President of Friends of Rivers and Water Bodies,  Nana Kwabena Dwomoh Sarpong, has, therefore, called on local authorities to stop the practice.

He said rivers must be left in their natural state.

Gutter engineering

According to Nana Dwomoh Sarpong, the practice, which he called "gutter engineering"  is not the best way of managing flooding as the assemblies believe.

"You don’t change the river course to drains; it allows the destruction of the water bodies and the wetlands,  Nana Kwabena said in an interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra last Wednesday.

" We do ecological engineering and not gutter engineering, " he explained, adding that leaving the rivers in their natural state would recharge the soil.

Subin River

One river that has suffered the abuse of conversion to a drain is the Subin River in Kumasi.

The river takes its source from the former Race Course in Kumasi and flows southwards, cutting through the city centre before joining with the River Oda at Asago near Kumasi.

A good part of the river has been converted to drains, taking away the river's natural form.

This situation  and other human factors including dumping of waste in the river, have caused the river to lose its aquatic life.

"We have failed"

Nana Dwomoh Sarpong said the nation had failed in environmental management and the time to change things for the better was now.

He said the assemblies were not performers when it came to the environment, and that a chunk of  the problems on environment could be put at their doorsteps.

"We have failed in the sanitation sector so we should change and I am happy the President has identified it.

We should pray and help him to realise that dream of fixing the challenge in the national capital," he said.

He called for the enforcement of environmental and sanitation laws.