Monetary valuation of the damage effects of water pollution on human health (the case of Subin, Sisa and Oda rivers in Kumasi)

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Surface water qualities in some parts of peripherals of Kumasi are affected by discharge of industrial and domestic pollution. This has negatively influenced the health of inhabitants living too close to the banks of these rivers. The problem of the study is to identify whether there is a relationship between water pollution and human health. Consequently it has a goal of putting monetary valuation on the damage effect caused by this act of pollution on human health. This has been done with three main objectives in mind. First of all, to examine an established relationship between water pollution and human health as stated. Secondly, to put monetary evaluation on the damaged caused by pollution using cost of illness from the environmental economics point of view, and thirdly, to use the peoples willingness to pay for a quality supplies. This is to check the reliability and validity of cost of illness valuation methods applied in the study. A brief case study is presented. This highlights the negative effect of uncontrolled exploitation of the surface water due to rampant domestic and urban development and industrial activities. Data for this research work were gathered through literature search, questionnaire and personal interviews. The findings of the study were tested through standard economics statistical tools. The results of research indicated that there is a relationship, even though at a lower degree, between water pollution and human health in the area studied. Also there is an economic cost, which is incurred by the people in the area due to this damage. This cost was verified through the method of willingness to pay for quality water as a substitute of the polluted water. Thus it is an environmental problem that needs, further critical assessment to reduce he hardship and burden imposed by these water pollution. It is recommended that some essential promotional and awareness activities be carried out at regular interval. This can help to inform target affected people and those that do not come about such consequently really. There should be a monitoring; assessment and evaluation programme that must be arranged by technical and sound economics analysts to use the scare economic resources allocated to the area to great advantage. The sector that controls environmental and water bodies should be improved through proper economic management, institutional and administrative influences to enable better development of resources in the area and similar places facing the same problem.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Economics and Industrial Management, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Master of Arts degree in economics, 2003