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Set up task force to protect water bodies: Nana Sarpong appeals to President

BY: George Ernest Asare
Nana Dwomoh Sarpong
Nana Dwomoh Sarpong

An appeal has been made to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to form a national task force to protect rivers and water bodies in the country.

The President of the Friends of Rivers and Water Bodies, Nana Kwabena Dwomo Sarpong, who made the appeal on World Water Day (March 21), said the rate at which rivers and water bodies were being destroyed by human activities was very devastating.

The development, he noted, called for a means of protecting the natural resources from activities such as illegal mining, sand winning and private development.

Speaking to the Daily Graphic, Nana Sarpong noted that the trend would also undermine effective socio-economic development.

Massive destruction

Nana Sarpong said when illegal mining, which led to the massive destruction of land across the country was getting out of hand, the situation was brought under control with the formation of a National Task Force.

“ Incidentally, our water bodies and rivers which are as important as our lands are still being destroyed through the activities of illegal miners, chain-saw operators, sand winners and private land developers but nothing is being done to stop the perpetrators from carrying out their nefarious activities,” Nana Sarpong said.

He also expressed concern about the use of chemicals by illegal miners as part of their operations of refining gold ore in rivers, saying such actions did not only destroy aquatic life but also have devastating effect on those who depended on such rivers for farming and other domestic usage.

Future generation

“For the sake of our future generation, the government in particular and Ghanaians, in general, should form a united front to combat the menace,” he stated.

Nana Sarpong also expressed concern about the failure of officials from the Lands Department and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to carry out their mandate of protecting rivers and water bodies over the years.

“They have turned a blind eye to private land developers who have been encroaching on rivers and water bodies in the various communities in Ghana, leading to flooding at the least downpour. Sadly, however, such people are not affected by the flood because their places of abode are far from areas they operate their businesses,” he lamented.

“ I have had personal interactions with officials of the Lands Department and the EPA on a regular basis on what should be done to stop private land developers, especially fuel station operators and other business personalities who have been encroaching on water bodies and reserved areas but they always give lame excuse that their hands are tight because those who build on such areas are supported by people from higher authority”.

“ It is very sad to hear such comments from government officials because they are not paid to supervise illegal activities,” he stated.