Thanks to an investigation by Richard Sky, a JHR-trained journalist with CITI FM in Accra, Ghana, Accra municipal authorities have assured city residents that toxic medical waste will no longer be dumped into their water supply.
Military Hospital 37 is one of Ghana’s oldest medical facilities. Just over a year ago the pipe meant to take medical waste, from the mortuary, maternity and surgical theaters, away for treatment was damaged and rendered inoperable. Unable to fix the line, the hospital began to dump the highly toxic bio-medical waste into the open sewers of Accra.
The gutters and run-off tributaries of Accra are a vital artery for water delivery. The pipe-supply grid is nearly non-existent in many parts of the city. People use the water for washing, and growing personal and commercial vegetable gardens.
When Sky heard about the dumping of medical waste he knew this was a story that could not be ignored. Alongside JHR-trainer Danny Kresynak, Sky investigated the issue and produced a series of stories focused on the water contamination, and people’s essential need and right to a consistent supply of clean water.
The stories got plenty of attention in Accra and it wasn’t long before the Accra Metropolitan Assembly was forced into action. A few weeks after the series went live the AMA announced they had assembled an emergency committee to investigate the issue themselves and found that Sky’s reports were correct.
The AMA has made a public promise to ensure that there is an immediate halt to the dumping, a complete overhaul of the hospital’s drainage system, an assessment of the environmental damage and the hospital pays for the cost of any associated clean-up.The AMA has also promised to look into pressing charges of negligence on those who had approved the dumping.
Sky will be staying on the story to ensure the AMA fulfills it’s promise.