Director of Water Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Dr Joseph Addo Ampofo has revealed that Ghanas current water purification system has failed to remove harmful toxins produced by algae in fresh water sources.
According to him, even though the system meets the WHO standards, the use of chlorine and alum in the current system only succeeds in destroying bacteria that may be present in the water source, but not the toxins produced by algae.
“If you look at the Weija water for instance, gradually the water is increasing in blue-green algae. With such waters if you want to treat and drink, you must also take into consideration removal of the algae because the algae toxins can cause kidney problems, liver problems, nervous system problems, heart problems.
“Because we do not have that technology with our water treatment now, it means if there are a lot of algae in the water from a treatment point. You will be drinking these toxins and that is the danger we are facing now,” he said.
Dr Ampofo was speaking on the sidelines of a week-long in-house review of activities of the Water Research Institute on Friday.
According to him, the situation, if not checked, might lead to cancer and kidney cases.
“You may end up getting a lot of people with kidney problems in the country; a lot of people getting liver problems, nervous problems, brain disorders tumours leading to cancer and then you will not understand. It can easily come from drinking water,” he said.
He further advised the Ghana Water Company to use very fine filters to remove the harmful algae toxins in the system.
The programme, which was attended by scientists at the Environmental Biology and Health division of CSIR, was aimed at finding solutions to water related issues.