The Ghana Files: Pure Water

With the exception of the most remote villages, almost anywhere you go in Ghana you will be able to buy Pure Water. Every few yards, you’ll see the telltale blue coolers or metal bowl. You can buy a little baggie for no more than 10 peswas (6 cents). Unlike the bottled mineral water which is filtered naturally, Pure Water is basically a sack of water-flavored chemicals. Still, it’s cheaper than buying the bottles and easier than boiling, cooling and filling your own.

The downside of this convenience? Everywhere you look, there are empty water baggies tossed casually aside. Thousands of water baggies line the streets, gutters and walkways. Between those and the plastic shopping bags they give you for everything here, you barely go anywhere without seeing trash. It’s really quite sad: Ghana is such a beautiful country, but sometimes it seems like it is completely covered in garbage.

I have seen a few innovative uses of recycled water bags. Sometimes you will see children out in the streets collecting them, apparently cocoa farmers use them to cover and protect their seedlings. I have also seen some very cute purses and cosmetic bags made out of recycled water sachets, they’re called trashy bags (get yours here).

On one hand, the water sachets are a really cheap and convenient option when you live in a country where the tap water is not exactly drinkable. I must also acknowledge that I come from a place where we have the luxury of drinkable tap water, not to mention the luxury of public trash collection. Still, it’s sometimes sad to see such a beautiful country so covered in trash.


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