As National Security Operatives Swoop On Oware Fruit Juice Factory
By Alfred K. Dogbey
Indiscriminate discharge of polluted water into a residential area, from a poorly constructed underground septic tank by a beverage producing company, Oware Fruit Juice Enterprise at Ofankor, near Asofan in the Ga-West Municipality, has landed both the factory and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) boss of the area in serious trouble.
The septic tank is situated in the middle of the road, and waste water is regularly discharged onto the road, directly in front of the factory, thus damaging portions of the road.
What was more worrying is a very bad stench, which emanates from the sewage tank whenever it spill.
However, despite incessant complaints by residents, who live near and around the factory to the management of the company owned by a certain Alex Oware and authorities at the Ga-West Municipal Assembly, no action was taken about the issue, forcing operatives of the National Security to storm the place last Tuesday.
The operatives from the Human Security Department of the National Security, discovered that the fruits processing factory had been operating illegally without approval from EPA since August last year.
Officials of Ga-West are also to provide information on whether they duly assessed Oware Fruit Juice Factory in any way apart from the missing EPA assessment, before issuing the factory permission to operate in the municipality.
He was nowhere near his office at the time of the operation. But the EPA’s Principal Programme Officer (PPO), one Mr. Pinkrah and other officials of the Municipality were shocked at the scene. They, however, will not give out the name of the EPA Officer to this reporter apparently shielding him.
The Municipal EPA boss is to meet the National Security over the issue.
Mr. Pinkra and his colleagues, however, denied knowledge of an EPA certificate that Oware Fruit Juice Factory purported to have gotten from the EPA since it was not in their records.
It was believed that the factory might have obtained the EPA authorization, after management was hinted about a petition filed at Headquarters of Food and Drug Authority (FDA), Urban Road, EPA, the ministry of Environment Science and Technology and other relevant institutions.
In the petition dated December 29, 2011, the residents lamented that “the worrying aspect of this is that whenever the Assembly has used state money to get a grader to work on the road, this unpatriotic owner of a pineapple juice company (who is not a resident of the area) works even harder to pour out larger volumes of waste water to pollute and degrade the environment and consequently the road. This is as if to tell the neighbourhood and its residents to go to hell”.
The petition was signed by one Ahmed Ben-Dallah, the leader of the residents. It was also addressed to the regional Director of the EPA.
It said, “If Alex Oware Enterprise is truly licensed to establish and operate a pineapple juice factory in such a highly residential area, then I dare say that someone failed in his/her duty to assess the impact on the environment and may have to interrogate and explain the consequence Sir”.
The petitioners insist, Oware Fruit Juice Enterprise which is “advertising itself as producers of hygienic fruit drinks, is rather creating a very unhygienic environment with its uncontrolled disposal of large volumes of stinking waste water, which runs wild on the road (because of lack of drainage system)”.
Mr. Alex Oware, the owner of the fruit juice company himself also was nowhere to be found. A certain Alexander Adarkwa Bonsu, who introduced himself to the Security Men as a personal assistance to Mr. Oware, was the one available.
Mr. Bonsu claimed that they have made arrangements by harvesting the waste water into a polytank to be disposed off at an unknown location. But this was denied by the residents.
The National Security men, led by Major Ignatius Awuni insist the issue will be thoroughly dealt with, to protect the health of the residents some of whom have complained about breathing difficulties.