THE government has secured a $2.5 million loan from the African Development Bank for the acquisition of two weed harvesters to clear aquatic weeds which have engulfed the Lower Volta and Tano River Basins. Part of the amount will be used to hire labour to remove the weeds.
The machines which are expected to be delivered next year will fast track the removal of the weeds.
Currently, manual and biological control measures are being employed to remove the weeds.
Invasive aquatic weeds are weeds that grow in water and hinder the normal use of the water.
The acting Director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Mr. Daniel .L. Amlalo said this at the second annual review conference of integrated management of invasive aquatic weeds at Sogakope in the South Tongu District of the Volta Region.
The conference which was on the theme ‘Our water bodies; our life’, was attended by committees on the removal of water weeds from seven riparian regions namely; Dangme East, Dangme West, Lower Manya, Jomoro, Asougyaman and North and South Tongu Districts.
Among other things the conference reviewed the activities of the respective committees in removing the weeds.
Mr. Amlalo said that government secured the loan because of the enormity of the challenge, adding that the livelihood of majority of the riparian communities depended directly on the river the last decade, he said the country’s water bodies had been confronted with emerging menace of the spread of the aquatic weeds.
“That these water weeds are rapidly taking over the country’s river systems and reservoirs, severely compromising the use of the water resources for socio-economic development , notable among them being water hyacinth, water fern, and water.”
He said on “the Ghana side of the Lower Tano River alone, floating water weed infestation as at 2008 is over 5,000 hectors while their the infestation the Kpong head-pond are in excess of 1,500 hectares amidst floating and submerged vegetation.”
He said “these aquatic weeds have seriously hampered fishing, river transport and water supply to riparian communities and hydropower generation on the Kpong head pond is also threatened.”
The Director of Inter-sectorial Network of EPA, Mr. Samuel Anku said the removal of the weeds required a holistic and collaborated approach from the respective districts
Giving an overview of progress made on the weeds removal, the Project Coordinator of the weeds, Mrs. Jewel Kudjawu, said government has contributed of $ 1.03 to clear the weeds.
She said the EPA had signed a memorandum of understanding with the Zoology Department of the University of Ghana for the rearing and releasing of bio-agents on the invasive alien spicies.
She stated that some farmers in the riparian communities have also been trained in how to use the water weeds for composting.