The Bono Regional Director in charge of the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) Madam Akua Amponsaa Owusu, has advised the public to patronise only registered sachet and bottled water that bears the FDA product registration numbers.
This she said is the only surest way to confirm that the drinking water is produced under safe and hygienic conditions for the consumption of the customers.
The regional boss noted that FDA is responsible to protect consumers, as mandated by the Public Health Act.
Madam Akua Amponsaa Owusu, said, the activities of the water producers especially in the Bono region are vigorously monitored by FDA as well as the Sanitation and the environmental department of the various assemblies to ensure that water produced in the region and sold in the markets is safe and meets the standard quality for public consumption.
Speaking at a stakeholders engagement organised by the Bono Regional Coordinating Council in Sunyani, Madam Amponsaa Owusu said that her office always ensure through periodic and un- announced inspection that the water used to produce sachet and bottled water passes through various levels of distillation before sending them onto the market for sale.
She said all inspections are done in accordance with the current Codes of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and production processes including Filtration or Reverse Osmosis which removed extraneous material, and UV Sterilisation which destroyed harmful pathogens which might have been present.
Madam Amponsaa Owusu reiterated that as part of the registration process, their laboratory conducts periodic tests to establish the presence or otherwise of microorganisms which is a critical parameter for drinking water safety.
The Bono Regional boss of FDA further assured the public that, the office again conduct periodic market surveillance and product quality analyses of products in circulation on the market.
She said currently her outfit has registered a total of 145 sachet and bottled water products within the Bono Region which translate into 96% of the products in the region.
The FDA boss further noted at the meeting that health of consumers is paramount in their operations, therefore, they will continue to collaborate with the Environment Protection Agency and Sanitation department of the various assembles to intensify their exercise to ensure all producers in the industry within the region use the right machines, as well as practice good hygiene at their various production sites.
Among the participants were the regional director of Ghana Health services, the MCE’s of Sunyani Municipal and Sunyani West Assembles and their sanitation officers, Environmental Protection Agency, Ghana water Company, sachet and bottle water producers Association Leaders from the 12 district within the region, Food and Drugs Authority, Ghana Standard Authority as well as Directors from Bono Regional Coordinating Council.
Among the issues discussed were, water quality and public safety, production of biodegradable containers for bottling, availability of litter bins in tows, support from water producers to District assembles to improve sanitation among others.
Nine (9) member steering committee was formed to spearhead the implementations of the road map drawn to improve sanitation issues in the Bono region.
On her part the Bono Regional minister, Hon. Justina Owusu Banahene said Sachet water is gradually becoming the main source of drinking water in the region and as well as the country.
Taking reference from data contained in the 2021 Ghana Population and Housing Census – General Report Volume 3M; Water and Sanitation indicated that 37.4% of households use sachet water as their main source of drinking water followed by pipe-borne water which was used by 31.7% of households and borehole/tube which was used by 17.7% of households.
The census data also found that in urban areas the two main sources of drinking water was sachet water which was used by 51.5% of households and pipe-borne water which was used by 33.6% of households while in rural areas, borehole/tube well was used by 33.6% of households and pipe-borne water was used by 28.8% of households.
Hon. Justina Owusu Banahene indicated that is time water producers in the region willingly support the all the 12 assemblies both financially and logistically during clean up exercise that the assemblies may embark.
She said the producers association in region as part of their social responsibility, must be able to provide litter/ dust bins in the districts to help reduce excess filth on the streets and gutters as a results of their plastics and rubbers.
Hon. Regional Minister advised the Association to fully participate in the next clean up exercise which will be done in all the 12 districts within the region ahead of X-mass celebration to help fight and control most preventable environmental health diseases.
Hon. Justina Owusu Banahene said drinking water of good quality is required to sustain life while access to water is noted as a fundamental human right.
She said the sale and consumption of packaged water is growing increasingly in the region over the last few years. Thus, the production and sale of sachet water have become a booming business venture in Bono region, with so many brands of sachet water on the market due to the perception that it is safe, hygienic, and its aesthetic appeal. The brands are so many that one tends to question whether these production companies do really adhere to all safety protocols in their production.
She said Sachet water is highly patronized by most people in the region especially the various district capitals, however, this high patronage could lead to substandard products on the market because of profit hence the stakeholder engagement and the committee to help make this right.