Mr Speaker, let me first and foremost congratulate the Hon Minister for making the Statement. It could not have come at a better time, considering the fact that today, we celebrate World Water Day.
Mr Speaker, if you look at this year's celebration, the theme is ‘Water and Waste Water'. This is indeed as a result of the fact that the attempt is to let the world concentrate on how one treats waste water and reuse, because clearly, contrary to the belief of a lot of people, water cannot be considered as an infinite resource.
If we were to look at the research that has been done within Ghana, only about 7 per cent of waste water is retreated, therefore the Statement and for that matter the theme for this year could not have been more appropriate.
Mr Speaker, it is important to also note that, while we talk about waste water, we need to know that the statistics available seem to alarm us as a country. Worldwide, it is said that about 1.8 billion people are exposed to drinking water that is contaminated with faecal matter, which has an effect in terms of causing diseases like polio, dysentery, cholera and so on.
Mr Speaker, indeed if you look at the level of contamination in relation to human activities like galamsey and so on, it tells you very clearly that we are living at a time when things are very dangerous when it comes to issues of potable drinking water.
Mr Speaker, but kindly permit me to use this day and the Statement the Hon Minister made to zoom in on a particular type of contamination that is affecting the people of Bongo Constituency, which is my constituency.
If you look at the Bongo Constituency generally, it is a rural area and the sources of water are basically from boreholes, hand-dug wells and small town water systems. Unfortunately, if you look at the quality of water that comes from the ground water that we get, and you look at the fluoride content, if you want to assess it, based on what the World Health Organisation (WHO) says, it indicates that any level that is above 1.5 milligrams per litre is not wholesome for drinking.
Mr Speaker, if you look at that of Bongo, the levels are as high as 3.37
milligrams per litre, and this is creating serious health problems, particularly for children. Because of the high fluoride content, we have a lot of children, especially those found in the development stage, suffering from a condition called dental fluorosis, where most of these children have tainted teeth, and this is creating a lot of problems for our people.
Mr Speaker, in 1995, a study was conducted by the Ghana Health Service, and they indicated that 33 per cent of children of school going age in the district suffer from either dental fluorosis, skeletal fluorosis or non-skeletal fluorosis. The irony is that, the capital of Upper East, that is Bolgatanga, and its environs, get their water from a dam known as Vea dam.
Mr Speaker, Vea dam is located in Bongo, in Vea. The treatment plant that supplies water to the Bolgatanga township and its environs is in Bongo, but the people of Bongo do not get water from the Ghana Water Company, which is processed in that same district.
Mr Speaker, there have been calls made to the Ghana Water Company to see how they could at least make sure that, people benefit from potable water that is produced on their land. So, to the Hon Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources who shares a boundary with me in terms of constituency -- I would like to bring this to his attention while I commend him for the Statement he has made, that the very survival of our children particularly in Bongo, is hinged on this.
Mr Speaker, unfortunately we have a lot of children who would move from Bongo to other schools outside the region, and because of the nature of their teeth, they are unable to even interact with their colleagues with confidence. This is affecting their academic performance, and