Borehole water is not always safe

Research conducted by the National Isotope Hydrology Center (NIHC) of the National Nuclear Research Institute of Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) has established that water from boreholes is not always safe for domestic use.

This is owed to the fact that most of the land sites on which boreholes are drilled for water may be contaminated with toxic chemicals and heavy metals.

 

Dr. Cynthia Laar
Dr. Cynthia Laar

Dr. Cynthia Laar, a Research Scientist at the NIHC, who made this known in an interview at the Commission, explained that many of these boreholes are drilled without conducting a proper investigation to ascertain the appropriateness of the site as a source of water for domestic use.

“Dental fluorosis, arsenic poisoning, liver and lung cancers are some of the health issues associated with the use of contaminated groundwater” she stressed.

 

Also, Dr. Abass Gibrilla, a Research Scientist at the NIHC advised that borehole water should be tested every two years at least, to ascertain the safety of the water for its continued use.

He noted that the Isotope Hydrology Center uses nuclear technology to investigate the origin, age, recharge mechanisms, and sources of contaminants in groundwater.

“The Center is also involved in site investigations, supervision of borehole drilling and water quality tests”, he indicated.

He added that the NHIC has a well-equipped laboratory and well-qualified human resources needed to support active groundwater research.

 

Dr. Abass Gibrilla
Dr. Abass Gibrilla

Dr. Gibrilla, therefore, urged Ghanaians to show much concern on the quality of the water they drink and take the necessary steps to ensure that their water sources (boreholes) are well constructed and tested to ensure they are free from contaminants and other toxins, which he said were harmful to human health.

“Water is life, But the quality of water we drink defines our health”, he concluded.

 

By CPRC/CCD, GAEC

“THE FIGHT AGAINST COVID-19 IS A SHARED RESPONSIBILITY” – DR. DANIEL ACHEL, RESEARCH SCIENTIST-GAEC

A research scientist, Dr. Daniel Achel, has emphasized the need for Ghanaians to support the efforts of Government in the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic.

Dr. Daniel Achel of the Radiological and Medical Sciences Research Institute (RAMSRI) of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) made this call when he delivered a lecture at the maiden monthly seminar series for the year 2021. The seminar was on the theme; COVID-19 Vaccination: No One Wins Until Everybody Wins.

In his presentation, Dr. Achel outlined the various interventions undertaken by the government of Ghana to help curb COVID-19, notably, the acquisition and rollout of a vaccination programme.

“From 16th March, 2020, the President suspended all public gatherings exceeding 25 persons, closed down universities, and instituted a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine for Ghanaians who were travelling from countries with at least 200 infected persons”, he elaborated.

He explained that the vaccination was not a new way of controlling diseases and cited examples of the role vaccines had played in tackling polio, measles and diphtheria among others.

“Vaccines elicit an immune response against a germ so that when the same individual is exposed to that germ later, it remembers it and produces a stronger secondary immunity”, he clarified.

Dr. Achel indicated that a successful vaccination programme would thrive on trust and acceptance and gave an example of the debilitating effects of the polio virus in Nigeria (in 2003) when five Muslim dominated states refused to administer the polio vaccines under the false impression that the vaccines were meant to eliminate Muslims in the world.

“Consequently, polio infections shot up in Nigeria by 400 percent between 2002 and 2006, while variants of the poliovirus were transported to 23 different countries, costing an additional 500 billion dollars to defeat the infection”, he said.

Touching on some COVID-19 statistics, he indicated that there are about 128 million infections and 2.8 million deaths globally, while Ghana had recorded over 90,000 infections and 742 deaths as of 1st April, 2021.

“About 4.2 million Africans, representing 3.27 percent of global infections with 114,000 deaths representing 3.99 percent of global deaths have been recorded, I would say that God has been a bit magnanimous to Africa”, he added.

“According to the World Health Organization, COVID-19 has shown that our fate is inextricably linked; whether we win or lose, we do so together. Hence, COVID remains a fight for everybody, and it must be fought together. Therefore to wipe out Coronavirus, we need determination, discipline and teamwork”, he emphasized.

The event was chaired by Prof. Mary Boadu, Director of the Radiological and Medical Sciences Research Institute of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission.

By: CPRC, CCD, GAEC

Minister cuts sods for €10 Million E-Waste Handover Center at GAEC

The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology & Innovation (MESTI), Dr Kwaku Afriyie has cut sod for the construction of a Handover Center for electronic waste at Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC).

The programme held on March 16 brought together several industry players to promote the recycling and disposal of waste of electrical and electronic equipment in an environmentally sound way.

The Minister in his keynote address indicated that the project is critical to the management of e-waste in Ghana because it presents a practical step to curb the practice of indiscriminate burning and disposal of e-waste in the country.

He mentioned that the Handover Center will serve as a storage center for the e-waste materials collected from scrap dealers and individuals.

“The project will offer incentive packages to informal e-waste collectors to encourage them to use the proper channels of disposing off e-waste materials. It will also subsidise the collection and cover additional cost associated with e-waste recycling”, he added.

The Chief Director of MESTI, Mrs Lydia Essuah, in her welcome address, explained that the objective of the project is to minimize the negative impact improper management of e-waste has on the environment and human health. She called for active collaboration to ensure a successful completion of the Handover Center.

“We are looking forward to your effective and efficient collaboration in bringing this project to a successful end within the time we set for ourselves”, she said.

According to her, the government of Ghana in collaboration with the German government, through KfW (a German state-owned development bank) in 2016, signed an agreement to help Ghana’s fight against improper e-waste disposal and to reduce its effects on environmental pollution as well as health risk.

“The project is supposed to buy e-waste materials made up of cables, mixed batteries, thermo plastics and CRT’s”, she noted.

She further stated that the project is in two phases with phase one being the construction of this €10 million Handover Center.

 

The Director General of GAEC, Prof. Benjamin Jabez Botwe Nyarko indicated that GAEC is always looking for opportunities to partner with other government agencies for the socioeconomic development of the country.

He expressed his delight in knowing that the project will start soon and offer opportunities to scientist in the Commission in stemming this menace.

“We are happy the government is putting up this facility on our land as it will deter people from encroaching”, he added.

The Country Director of KfW, Arndt Wierheim, gave assurance of the continued support from the German government.

By: CPRC, CCD, GAEC

STUDENTS FROM AFRICAN INSTITUTE OF MATHEMATICAL SCIENCES VISIT GAEC

Girls in mathematical sciences from the African Institute of Mathematical Sciences (AIMS), as part of their mentorship programme paid an educational visit to Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC).

The key objective of the visit was to enlighten the girls on the practical applications of mathematical sciences using GAEC laboratories.

 

Welcoming the students, Mr. Mark Sarfo, Manager of Communication and Public Relations Center (CPRC) and Dr. Julliet Attah, Head of the Scientific Information and Technology Transfer Unit of the National Nuclear Research Institute stated that the mandate of GAEC is to advice government on nuclear issues and promote the peaceful uses of nuclear and related technologies for the socio-economic development of Ghana.

They further explained that GAEC currently operates a nuclear research reactor to determine the composition of substances at the elemental level.

The pair, together with the team from CPRC led the students to the Nuclear Reactors Research Center and the Accelerator Research Center, where they were educated on the various research activities conducted by scientists in those centers.

Additionally, the students after the tour interacted with resource persons from Ghana Space Science and Technology Institute who educated them on research activities undertaken in their Institute.

The Director of the Nuclear Power Institute, Dr. Seth Kofi Debrah took his turn to educate them on the progress Ghana has made so far in acquiring a nuclear power reactor.

He briefly took them through the processes involved in the generation on electricity from nuclear reactors.

 

Mr. Johnson Singir, the Programmes Officer of AIMS, in showing appreciation for the warm reception made a presentation to the Deputy Director General of GAEC, Prof. Shiloh Osae, on behalf of the Institute.

Prof. Osae in a short statement advised the students to focus on their studies and aspire to become world-renowned female scientist in the future.

By: CPRC, CCD, GAEC