Date posted: 6th Sept 2011
Participants at a parallel session at the ongoing Third Ghana Water Forum have agreed that it is feasible to create wealth from waste, particularly liquid waste that is generated in the country through agricultural activities.
However, they are concerned about the possible health implications that may arise from contamination. They are also worried about levels of public awareness about new ideas such as the reuse of waste water. These views were expressed when participants benefitted from experience and research information sharing at one of the sessions under the governance parallel session of the GWF-3.
Already Waste Enterprises, a Kumasi-based company is using treated waste water for fish farming while Safi Sana, an Accra based initiative, generates compost from human excreta for farming.
Addressing the topic “Transforming Sanitation and Health Through Wastewater Reuse”, Ashley Murray, founder and chief executive of Waste Enterprises, said the beauty of her organisation’s initiative is that the fish pond provides a means of raising finance to maintain the treatment plant and then there is fish for consumption. “So there is huge, huge potential; it’s a huge money-making potential,” she concluded.
Regarding fears about possible contamination and disease spread, Mr Phillip Amoah of the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) office in Ghana said there are low cost opportunities for addressing contanmination.
For instance, vegetable farmers can use non-treatment options to address contamination on-farm. These include cessation of irrigation when crops are due for harvesting; holding water can low when watering; filtering polluted water before using for watering; avoiding stirring up worm eggs; and using matured (composted) poultry manure.
At the market, if the market women can change the water they use for washing the vegetables once a day they can reduce the pathogen level by 90 percent.
In addition, improving common salad washing practices in homes can significantly reduce risks. “If we are able to observe these we can reduce all the risks,” he emphasized.