Pure water, historically, has been Ghanaians savior. The cruel condition of the ‘Ghanaian sun’ has made pure water the redemption song for thirsty throats. From Aglogloshie, to Makola to all the markets, streets and towns, pure water is king.
Ice Water Era
Years back, ice water was sold from rubber cups for people at lorry parks, market places, schools, etc. to buy and drink. Health stakeholders saw that the water was a transmitter of infectious diseases like TB. Eventually, the mantle fell on water vendors who tied their chilled water in plain rubbers. The new water was n—‘panyin de panyin’ (meaning the old is still the king).
Pure Water Era
Consumers’ criticism of the unhygienic conditions and impurities in panyin de panyin birthed pure water. Bottled water followed suit years on to improve standards in Ghana. Nevertheless, the pure water vouched for is no longer pure enough for human consumption.
Pure Water Producers’ Permit
Before companies gets registered under Food and Drugs Board (FDB), everything should be in place. Business registration certificate, a site master plan of the factory, an environmental permit from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and health certificates for all workers showing test results for tuberculosis, hepatitis A and E, typhoid and other communicable diseases should be intact. The registration goes through another phase where general information on the firm is varied. The interior, drains, ventilation, water and electrical systems, equipment validation, are checked. Also, a water quality analysis is carried out on samples of sachet water. Once FDB is satisfied, the company can approach Ghana Standard Authority (GSA) for the “Quality Mark”. This mark details brand name, net volume, manufacture’s address, batch code and the expiry date “BEST BEFORE” .
Pure Water Companies Operating Without License
Most pure water-producing companies are simply bagging tap water. They sell these on the markets with faked enborsement of GSB seal to fool consumers. The colour, odor and taste of these water make you wonder. Manufacturers don’t know the offices of the FDB and GSB. Don’t I just love this country?
The situation gets worse as recognised water producers join the bad nuts to kill us with contaminated water. Water gets contaminated when exposed to sunlight during transporting. Also, packing water under fluorescent light for weeks or months in our homes, shops, is dangerous. Scary right?
Toothless State of FDB & GSB
The FDB, by law, is expected to randomly check on registered sachet-water samples to maintain standards. Both boards haven’t achieved much. It’s God’s grace we all haven’t died of cholera, typhoid and other water-borne diseases.
The Pure Water Solution
We urgently need to break the silence on ‘impure water’ and this “fama nyame” attitude of my country folks. The police, FDB need us to notify them of sachet water companies operating under unhygienic conditions. If we remain unconcerned, a fake water producer would produce water that will kill your family member, etc.
The time to end the talk shops and the scratching of the surface of the problem is now.
It is show time.