A Professor of Agricultural Engineering at the University of Cape Coast (UCC), Prof. Joshua D. Owusu-Sekyere, has stressed the need for the country to criminalise water pollution, saying, “those who pollute the water bodies should be prosecuted for engaging in such acts.”
The nation’s water policies, he explained, should be enforced at all levels in order to protect the country’s water bodies.
He argued that, if nothing was done about water pollution, the nation would struggle in terms of access to potable water which he noted, may result in conflict over the limited water available by the citizenry
Prof. Owusu-Sekyere was speaking at an inaugural lecture held at the campus of UCC which was on the topic: ‘In the abundance of water, the food is thirsty.”
He explained that water quality with regard to the nation’s water bodies had deteriorated as a result of certain activities such as illegal mining thereby making it impossible for Ghanaians to have access to potable water.
“Many of our rivers are polluted making it difficult for us to make use of the available water due to quality issues,” he said.
The nation, he indicated, must not allow few disgruntled people to put the water quality in jeopardy looking at the repercussion associated with the struggle for potable water due to its unavailability.
With the current level of pollution of water bodies, Prof. Owusu-Sekyere said, Ghanaians should blame themselves for looking on unconcerned when few individuals carry out the pollution with impunity.
He further called for a comprehensive national drive on rainwater harvesting in the country.
The policy, he explained, should compel each household in the country to have rain harvesting facility that would ensure judicious use of rain water for domestic and other usage among the citizenry.
Prof. Owusu-Sekyere noted that, irrigation and drainage had over the years, contributed significantly to the increase in food production, saying, “Today, only a meagre one-sixth of cropped land that is irrigated produces one-third of the world’s harvest of food crops.”
With increasing world population, he said, an increased agricultural production was required to provide enough food and fibre.
He stated that “This cannot be achieved without greater withdrawals of water for irrigation but this would worsen the already scarce fresh water.”
He commended the government for the implementation of the Planting for Food and Jobs programme which he said, would increase food production in the country.
Prof. Owusu-Sekyere, therefore, called for the strengthening of the Ghana Irrigation Development Authority to enable it play an active and effective role in the irrigation of agriculture to increase the nation’s food production.
He noted that, the dwindling level of fresh water in the country and the world in general would affect food production and said that, there was the need for the country to economically use irrigation to increase crop production.
FROM DAVID O. YARBOI-TETTEH, CAPE COAST