There are fears of an environmental disaster at Tongor-Dzemeni in the Volta Region as traders dealing in pesticides have moved their wares to the banks of the Volta Lake to attract customers.
The traders have further resorted to entering the water to meet passengers arriving on boats to sell the pesticides and other products to them.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has raised red flags about the practice and warned the traders and stall keepers to stop the practice immediately or face the law.
The Volta Regional Director of the EPA, Hope Smith Lomotey, sounded the caution last Thursday when he led a team of officials of the agency to the market to observe the practice at first hand.
During a meeting with the traders at the waterfront, Mr Lomotey reiterated the dangers associated with the practice, stressing that agrochemicals were hazardous to aquatic life and, for that matter, human life as well.
“This is dangerous and unlawful, and cannot be encouraged for any reason,” Mr Lomotey said.
The sale of agro-chemicals in the Tongor-Dzemeni Market has been a thriving business for many years.
Farmers from the Afram Plains, especially, arrive in their numbers at sunrise on canoes every Thursday at the market, which is by the bank of the Volta Lake, to sell foodstuffs and also buy pesticides before returning at sunset.
With time, the agro-chemical sellers, seemingly in competition for customers, moved their stalls from the town centre to the bank of the lake.
The business further flourished and the traders adopted a much quicker way of finding customers by going onto the canoes to do brisk business before the passengers stepped out of the canoes.
Mr Lomotey explained that there was always the likelihood of the chemicals coming into contact with the water.
He further said in times of heavy rain, more than half of the market got flooded, heightening the possibility of the chemicals in the stalls at the river bank contaminating the water.
For instance, he said, fish that died as a result of contact with chemicals posed a danger to the public if they were offered for sale on the market.
Mr Lomotey interacting with a pesticide seller at the Tongor-Dzemeni Market
Mr Lomotey said the agency had taken a firm stance to stem the harmful business practice immediately.
He said even in the town centre, the agro-chemicals could only be sold at authorised sites.
Mr Lomotey, therefore, entreated the traders to seek assistance from the EPA regarding the sites for their stalls.