Fishermen who capture fish using their boats and nets have had to remove feces and other solid waste from their haul before selling it to fish mongers, according to XYZ investigations.
The Densu River drains into the ocean at several points in the Greater Accra Region from the Weija Dam.
In addition to clogged drains and pollution overtaking the town, TV XYZ reporter Piesie Okrah adds that families along the banks of the once-clean river have channeled their sewage, polluting the water with faecal waste.
When Piesie Okrah visited some of the communities in the area, the pollution was heavy as garbage could be seen floating freely in the river.
Piesie Okrah in an interview with Tei, a fisherman on the Densu River.
Tei, a fisherman who has been working on the river for years bemoaned the level of pollution in the river which he says was once a source of drinking water for the indigenes.
“Today, working on this river is not a good experience because of the level of pollution that has taking place here,” he told Piesie Okrah.
He said he and other colleagues who have been fishing in the Densu river always harvest plastics and other wastes on daily basis.
“Apart from harvesting a chunk of waste which is found in the river, the lives of the fishes in the river are threatened by the domestic activities around,” Tei indicated.
According to the water Resources Commission, there are about 18 fish species in the Densu including the Weija Reservoir. However, the most commonly fished species are Tilapia and Mud-fish.
According to Tei, excessive pollution is causing the fish to go extinct.
“We used to catch mudfish and other kinds, but the fish we catch now appear ill due of the rubbish put into the river,” he continued. “Every now and again, some of us catch fish that have eaten diapers and feces.”
When asked what happens to fish that had eaten condoms or other rubbish, Tei said that the fishmongers dress them and dispose of the waste before selling them.
According to XYZ News’ investigations, fish from the Densu river end up in marketplaces along the Tetegu-Kasoa highway.
The Galilea market, as well as those in Tetegu and Weija, are examples of other marketplaces.
The Fisheries Commission believes the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for preventing the pollution.
Dr Lawrence Armah Ahiah, the Director of Inland Fisheries at the Fisheries Commission said the Commission have in the past collaborated with the local assemblies and the EPA to stop some illegal activities along river banks.
“The health of the fishes, their development and their sustainability is the mandate of the Fisheries Commission but when the people are polluting the water, that is the work of the EPA,” Dr Ahiah stated in an interview with Piesie Okrah.
Asked what the Fisheries Commission has to do about the situation, Dr Ahiah said they will “later follow up” and monitor the situation and “investigate” but also added that the EPA wil have to move to stop the pollution.
Other residents who spoke to XYZ News indicated that the Assembly has refused to provide a place for the residents to dump their refuse.
“There was a Zoomlion container, right here around the bridge on this river but for many months, they have decided not to bring it here again and that is why the borla [refuse] is all over. When it rains, it floats to our homes,” another fisherman told XYZ News.
Meanwhile, the Weija-Gbawe Municipal Assembly has stated that sanitary inspectors and environmental health authorities would be dispatched to the spot to begin investigations.
“We will pursue the matter and ensure that pollution is addressed,” Assembly PRO Julius Sarpei stated.