The construction of a sachet water factory at an old cemetery, by Buem MP, Daniel Ashiamah has left residents there fuming.
According to residents of Buem old Baika, a traditional community in the Jasikan district of the Volta Region, the location of the borehole for the factory used to be an old cemetery for accident victims and people who suffered mysterious deaths.
The site was later used as a toilet facility for the EP Basic Schools and then turned into a refuse dump.
"Our major concern is that the underground water may be contaminated and there can be an outbreak of an epidemic if our people drink from this water sachet," a resident who pleaded anonymity, told The Ghanaian Times yesterday.
However, Mr. Ashiamah, who owns the water factory, says there’s no cause for alarm.
"The old cemetery, school toilet and refuse dump for the community had been relocated long enough to erode any form of contaminative materials from the earth and the underground water," said the MP, who also hails from the community.
At the moment, the Roman Catholic Church has its cemetery located east of the proposed factory and is being claimed as part of the project land.
According to the MP, if completed, the sachet water production factory would create employment for the youth, as well as generate revenue for the community.
He insisted that "the depth of the borehole through the rocky land goes beyond any contamination", stressing that water from the factory would be safe.
However, an American health expert has warned that the location of the water factory could be dangerous to health “not only to the people of Old Baika, but the entire nation since water from the factory is to be distributed across the country”.
The health specialist, Dr. Gabriel Cousens, a retired Lt. Commander of the US Public Health, told The Ghanaian Times on phone last weekend, that water from a burial site might result in the spread of gastro enteritis and the risk of contracting HIV, Ebola virus, Hepatitis B and C, Tuberculosis and Cholera, among others.
He said studies of cemeteries had revealed traceable bacteria, suggesting that micro-biological decayed products could reach the underground water.
"The principle mechanism for contamination is by rainwater percolating through the soil and coming into contact with the remains of buried people," he added.
Dr. Cousens, said he had already cautioned the chief of Old Baika, Nana Kwaku Duah II, the Senior Amankrado of the Buem Traditional Area, Jasikan Water Department, Old Baika Water Board, as well as the Volta Region Water Ministry, about the location of the water project.
He recommended that "water supplies must be at least 30 metres away from cemetery sites and 250 metres from burial sites for any borehole for drinking water."
Source: Ghanaian Times