Residents of Agbeve, a fishing community in the South Tongu District, have expressed their displeasure with the dredging activities of a foreign vessel on the River Volta.
The residents believe the vessel, owned by a Dutch company, is sourcing for minerals in the riverbed.
A visit to the community revealed that the dredging activities of the vessel have muddied the water, adversely affecting the operations of the water plant system constructed by community members with support.
The village which has not received any significant developmental project from the government, according to residents, self-sponsored and built two reverse osmosis water treatment plants to supply potable water to 6 villages along the river.
The residents say the water plant system which has significantly reduced cases of water-borne disease in the area, has since been rendered redundant following the heavy pollution of the river by the dredging vessel.
“Within 24 hours of this water-polluting activity, we couldn’t use the water treatment plant,” a resident said.
They expressed grave concern about the effects of the dredging activities on their local economy should it continue any longer.
The residents who are mostly fisher folks and oyster farmers say the dredging will lead to serious consequences; affecting both their livelihood and their nutrition.
“We tried a 30 acre maize farm which didn’t do well. Fishing and oyster farming is the only source of livelihood for the people,” a resident said.
Currently, feasibility studies are ongoing to establish the viability of catfish farming on an industrial scale to create a sustainable source of employment for the rather impoverished people in the area.
While the results of the study are looking good, residents fear that should the dredging continue, their hopes may never be realized.
Concerning the dredging activities, the residents stated that if indeed the river needs to be dredged, they are willing to carry out that activity themselves with the help of internally and some externally generated funds.
They believe they will be able to do a much better job, within standard best environmental practices as against the activities of the foreign vessel which is ‘destroying’ their only water source.
“If they really want dredging to be done for whatever reason, they should give us the people the first choice to do so responsibly so as not to adversely affect the community but as a source of community development.”
A resident who spoke on condition of anonymity noted that they strongly believe the vessel is rather looking for some mineral deposits and is using dredging as a cover up.
He added that it is also possible the vessel is winning sand from the riverbed.
The residents are thus calling on government to immediately halt the activities of the foreign vessel or else they will take matters into their own hands.
Meanwhile, the Ada East Municipal Security Council has held an emergency meeting with some residents and the company to find ways to solve the issues.
DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.