Japanese team in Ghana to help clean galamsey-polluted rivers

A team of environmental experts from Japan arrived in the country on Monday to begin work with their Ghanaian counter­parts on galamsey-polluted rivers which are said to have high density of toxic mercury – and dangerous to health.

The objective of the team is to make the rivers clean and hygienic again – using micro-nano-bubble, unique bacteria and other cleaning technologies.

During their stay, the Japanese will collaborate with the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) to conduct further tests to ascertain the toxici­ty of the rivers.

The Chief of Water and Soil En­vironment Division of the Meiho Engineering Incorporated, Atsushi Umeda and Professor Tomihisa Ohta of the Gifu University in Tokyo, were the first to arrive and they would be around for two weeks for the project.

The Japan-based Meiho Engi­neering is experienced in environ­mental restoration and provide solutions such as preliminary environmental pollution surveys, clean-up planning, and designing purification agents according to the pollution levels, production of cleaning agents, process manage­ment, and post project surveys.

 Four major water bodies in the country have been identified by the Japanese team as posing serious health risks due to the activities of illegal mining, popularly known as galamsey.

The rivers mentioned were the Pra, Birim, Ankobra and Ofin – all of which are reported to have high density of toxic mercury and are dangerous to health.

A survey conducted by Meiho Engineering, warned of birth de­fects and nerve damage on the use of the polluted water bodies.

The survey cautioned people in such areas not to eat any seafood in the rivers or suffer severe pain by nerve damage.

“Furthermore, if you eat the seafood in this area, your pregnancy might have variable deformity of children.”

The arrival of the Japanese team was initiated by a former resident in Japan, Mr George Afriyie – a renowned entrepreneur and for­mer vice president of the Ghana Football Association (GFA), who had reportedly met the President, Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Ad­do, to discuss the project.

According to Mr Afriyie, two other residents in Japan -Profes­sor Kwasi Kyei and Mr David Boateng, initiated the idea of bringing the team to Ghana for the project.

Professor Kyei, he said, had a brief meeting with the President on the project when he came on a working visit to Japan, Tokyo, in 2018.

The team, the Ghanaian Times was told, would also address problems of water quality, water resource and ecosystems that Gha­na is facing today.

“They will plan and implement strategic solutions to these issues and prevent potential risks to the environment,” Mr Afriyie added.


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