For a couple of months now, an overflow of polluted water suspected to contain toxic waste believed to be from a multinational manufacturing company which is operating at New Bortianor in the Ga South Municipality has taken over a portion of the New Bortianor-Kasoa road.
The muddy waste water has flooded a portion of the road between SCC Junction and the West Hills Shopping Mall.
Apart from the possible health risks the situation poses to residents, it also creates inconvenience for pedestrians and motorists. Occasionally, pedestrians are forced to walk through the waste water or jump onto the busy highway of speeding vehicles.
According to Madam Janet Amponash Sarfo, a resident, the overflowing waste water which comes in a brown colour, occasionally produces bubbles that pollute the air. She said when that happens, residents along the drainage find it uncomfortable to move around.
The situation has so far compelled some opinion leaders and residents to draw the company’s attention to the problem, but nothing has been done about it.
A resident described the situation as unfortunate because both the Ga South Municipal Assembly and the company have failed to act on the community’s complaints.
According to him, the company should be concerned about where waste water from its operations is disposed off. He also wants the company to, as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility, partner stakeholders to solve pressing infrastructure problems in the community.
Myjoyonline.com’s probes reveal that the waste water overflow on that part of the road is the result of a choked storm drain which collects waste water from the houses located in the neighborhood.
Tracing the source of the clayey waste water, Myjoyonline.com’s David Andoh was led to the main drainage behind the company’s wall, near the entrance to their warehouse. Here, one could see the waste water discharging into the drain.
A proper check beyond the discharging point shows cleaner water flowing from upstream. However, the colour becomes cream as soon as it enters the discharging point in the drain.
In a telephone interview with myjoyonline.com, the Public Relations Officer of the company (Sunda International), Julien Mensah denied that waste water from the company is discharged into drains in the neighborhood. She said the company is committed to sound environmental practices.
Madam Julien Mensah added that officers of the Environmental Protection Agency paid an unannounced visit to the company to embark on a routine environmental assessment, but never detected any environmental malpractices around the company. So the company is not responsible for the waste water that has been overflowing within the community.
Concerning complaints by residents, the PRO said they have not received any such reports.
Meanwhile, a source close to the Environmental Protection Agency revealed that the problem has not come to their attention and therefore promised to investigate it.
Madam Ivy Ofori who hawks along the road told this reporter that residents have tried on countless occasions to desilt the drainage in order to rectify the situation, but the work looks tediuos than they could imagine.
In his response, the Ga South Municipal Chief Executive, Mr Joseph Nyarni Stephen said the issue has come to his attention, adding that it is a major problem that falls under the Highways Ministry. Therefore, the Assembly has written a letter to the Minister, asking for an urgent resolution of the problem.
For his part, the Greater Accra Regional Director of Ghana Highways Authority, Mr Emmanuel Laryea Odai disclosed that a contract for construction of asphaltic concrete overlay road from Mallam junction to New Bortianor was awarded last year.
Mr Emmanuel Odai said that beside the road will be a trapezium storm drain when completed and that will solve the perennial flooding on that stretch of the Accra-Kasoa highway.
According to the Highways Engineer, the contractor moved to the site last year to start the work, but due to some technical hitches, the work was suspended. He hopes it will begin in the next few months.
With regard to a short term measure to be taken before the rains set in, Mr Emmanuel Laryea Odai was of the view that the Ga South Municipal Assembly and the company that is producing the toxic waste must come together to find a short term solution to the problem.
An official of EDIP Company Limited, a block making factory, who spoke under the condition of anonymity said the situation has become unbearable. Especially, when the foam goes up in the air.
He said the polluted water passes right in front of the factory and that makes it difficult for his workers and clients to come to the factory. He therefore appealed to government to do something about it before the rains set in.