Some traders have resorted to preserving ‘koobi’, dried tilapia, with cancer-causing agent, formalin.

Formalin, which is a chemical used to prevent dead bodies from decomposing, is being used by the traders to preserve the fish; thus making it stiff, have a rubbery feel, clear eyes, red gills and take away its odour as well as drive away flies.

The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Prof Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, made this known during a working visit to the Food Research Institute (FRI) and the Industrial Research Institute (IRR) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) on Friday.

Prof Frimpong-Boateng therefore cautioned those involved in the act to desist from it since it was dangerous to human health.

“Hitherto, opening the gills of koobi exposed salt placed there. Koobi was a little softer and when you put it somewhere flies will be attracted to it. These days you put koobi there and even flies will not go there.”

“So we want the few people who are destroying that industry to stop. Don’t preserve koobi with formalin, it is dangerous, it can cause cancer and it is dangerous everywhere,” he said.

“Tell the traders to stop using formalin but instead use salt to preserve koobi”, Prof Frimpong-Boateng added.

What is formalin

Formalin is a colourless strong-smelling chemical substance usually used in industry of textiles, plastics, papers, paint, construction, and well known to preserve human corpse.

It is derived from formaldehyde gas dissolved in water, post on the site of the BIMC Hospital Nusa Dua, the first hospital in Indonesia with accreditation from Australian Council on Healthcare Standard International (ACHSI), has explained.

Exposure from its gas or vapour could cause irritation to the eyes, nose and respiratory tract, causing sneezing, sore throat, larynx constriction, bronchitis and pneumonia. Multiple exposures can lead to asthma. It can also affect the skin, causing dermatitis or allergic reaction.

Visit to CSIR

Prof Frimpong-Boateng’s visit to the Food Research Institute (FRI) and the Industrial Research Institute (IRR) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) was part of his familiarisation tour to various research institutions under CSIR who play strategic role in developing scientific research that would feed industry and propel economic growth.

Prof Frimpong-Boateng together with Dr Victor Agyeman, Director-General of CSIR interacted with the staff of the two institutes and urged them to work hard and come out with scientific research programmes that would help boost industry, agriculture and education.

The Minister assured the staff of government’s commitment to resource the research centres with funds as it prepared to increase research fund from 0.2 per cent to 2.5 per cent.

He also commended staff at the Food Research Institute for the various products they had come up with but urged them to work to link up with industry to take up the innovation and sell them.

He however expressed regret at the level of deterioration at the Institute of Industrial Research despite the fact that there were scientists ready to work but were faced with obsolete equipment and tools.

“I think we as a people have failed the CSIR, which was created to play a critical role in building the economy “the Minister noted.

By Kwabia Owusu-Mensah GNA

About 40 percent of arable lands in illegal mining areas has become polluted and unsuitable for food production, Dr. J. O. Fenning, Director of the Soil Research Institute (SRI), has announced.

He said the situation was even more disturbing in the Western Region, where 70 per cent of lands in mining (galamsey) communities cannot support food production.

He added that in excess of 18, 600,000 hectares of land in Ghana had been found to contain iron-pan (petroplinthite), which made it difficult for food and cash crops to produce the required yield.

He made this known, when the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, toured the Institute, in Kumasi.

The Minister has been visiting Institutes under the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in the Ashanti Region, to acquaint himself with their operations and the challenges.

Dr. Fenning pointed out that the soil played important role in food production and therefore the need to identify soil types suitable for the growth and production of each food or cash crop, to derive maximum per hectare yield.

It was also important to identify the kind of fertilizer suitable for each soil.

He said the inability of farmers and investors to do this was a contributory factor to the low crop yield.

He spoke of the need to increase fertilizer application in the country from the current eight kilograms per hectare, which, he said was too low, to boost crop yield and food security.

He hinted of the development of a number of technologies including “biochar” and “sawah” by the SRI to improve soil condition and fertility.

Prof Frimpong Boateng made a strong case for the utilization of scientific knowledge, technologies and innovations, to drive the nation’s development.

He pledged the government’s resolve to ensure optimal use of technologies developed by scientists in the CSIR institutes.

Source: GNA

By Kwabia Owusu-Mensah, GNA

Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, Minister of Environment, Science Technology and Innovation (MESTI), has underlined the need for deliberate effort to utilize the expertise of the nation’s research scientists and locally developed technologies to drive national development.

He blamed the slow pace of Ghana’s socio-economic development on the neglect of technologies and innovations developed locally by its research institutions.

Prof Frimpong-Boateng, noted that some countries which were at par with Ghana in the 1960s, were making giant strides in development because of the reliance on local scientific expertise and innovations.

Addressing separate meetings with the management and staff of the Building and Road Research Institute (BRRI) and the Forestry Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG), in Fumesua, he said, things needed to change.

He was there as was part of a working visit to acquaint himself with the work of these institutes, which are under the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

Prof Frimpong-Boateng indicated that, the country could not continue to downplay the critical role of science and technology in its developmental agenda, saying, no nation could develop without making optimal use of indigenous scientific knowledge.

He spoke of the government’s resolve to increase funding for research from the current abysmal level, to about one per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the short term, and increasing to two per cent in the long term.

It was additionally working to ensure that research findings were fully utilized.

The Minister applauded the scientists for the good job they were doing under challenging conditions.

Dr. Victor Kwame Agyeman, Director General of CSIR, said they found it heart-warming the government’s recognition of the critical importance of research to national development.

He said the CSIR institutes were ready to partner it to implement its developmental initiatives.

Source : GNA

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By Kwabia Owusu-Mensah GNA

Kumasi, Mar 08, GNA – About 40 percent of arable lands in illegal mining areas has become polluted and unsuitable for food production, Dr. J. O. Fenning, Director of the Soil Research Institute (SRI), has announced.

He said the situation was even more disturbing in the Western Region, where 70 per cent of lands in mining (galamsey) communities cannot support food production.

He added that in excess of 18, 600,000 hectares of land in Ghana had been found to contain iron-pan (petroplinthite), which made it difficult for food and cash crops to produce the required yield.

He made this known, when the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, toured the Institute, in Kumasi.

The Minister has been visiting Institutes under the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in the Ashanti Region, to acquaint himself with their operations and the challenges.

Dr. Fenning pointed out that the soil played important role in food production and therefore the need to identify soil types suitable for the growth and production of each food or cash crop, to derive maximum per hectare yield.

It was also important to identify the kind of fertilizer suitable for each soil.

He said the inability of farmers and investors to do this was a contributory factor to the low crop yield.

He spoke of the need to increase fertilizer application in the country from the current eight kilograms per hectare, which, he said was too low, to boost crop yield and food security.

He hinted of the development of a number of technologies including “biochar” and “sawah” by the SRI to improve soil condition and fertility.

Prof Frimpong Boateng made a strong case for the utilization of scientific knowledge, technologies and innovations, to drive the nation’s development.

He pledged the government’s resolve to ensure optimal use of technologies developed by scientists in the CSIR institutes.

Source: GNA

The Director of Water Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has called for a review of the country’s water purification system, revealing the current system fails to remove harmful toxins produced by algae in fresh water sources.

Dr Joseph Addo Ampofo said although the current water purification mechanism by the Ghana Water Company meets the WHO standards, it fails to clean hazardous planktons in Ghana’s water sources.

 “If you look at the Weija water for instance, gradually the water is increasing in blue-green algae. With such waters if you want to treat and drink, you must also take into consideration removal of the algae because the algae toxins can cause kidney problems, liver problems, nervous system problems, heart problems. says Dr Ampofo

“Because we do not have that technology with our water treatment now, it means if there are a lot of algae in the water from a treatment point. You will be drinking these toxins and that is the danger we are facing now,” he said.

Dr Ampofo further revealed that the use of chlorine and alum in the current water treatment system only succeeds in destroying bacteria that may be present in the water source, but not the toxins produced by algae.

He made the comments Friday, on the sidelines of a week-long in-house review of activities of the Water Research Institute.

Among other things, Friday’s programme saw the presentation of findings on a myriad of water related issues by scientists at the Environmental Biology and Health division of the institute.

“We did work before 2010 and by then the level of algae in Ghana’s main water sources have come up to dangerous level, but now that we have a lot of waste being dumped into the water bodies, we need to find out the level now; because by now the level has exceeded the acceptable level of algae toxins in drinking water,” he said.

He attributed the increase in cancer cases among the youth to the situation.

“You may end up getting a lot of people with kidney problems in the country; a lot of people getting liver problems, nervous problems, brain disorders tumours leading to cancer and then you will not understand. It can easily come from drinking water,” he said.

He said his institute has informed the Ghana Water Company about the need to review the current water treatment process but that advice is yet to be heeded.

He recommended the use of very fine filters to remove the harmful algae toxins by the Water Company if the means of procuring appropriate chemicals is not available.

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