Mr Muntaka Chasant, a social entrepreneur, has reiterated the need for government to expedite action on the increasing air pollution levels in Ghana to minimise the future health crisis from its effects.
He said: “Our healthcare system may be heading for a crisis if we do not act immediately on the increasing levels of air pollution in Ghana’s urban areas.”
“The fight against air pollution cannot be deferred to tomorrow”, he said.
Mr Chasant said this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency after a campaign organised by the AirMask and Textiles Company (ATCL) to create awareness on the effects of air pollution in the Greater Accra Region.
The campaign forms part of activities to mark the World Environment Day 2019, on the theme: “Beat air pollution”.
Mr Chasant, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of ATCL, led a team of environmental activists to distribute anti-pollution masks, also known as particulate respirators, free of charge to street hawkers in various parts of Accra.
Mr Chasant had also distributed the anti-pollution masks to school children at Jamestown in Accra, and some workers of the Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) in Tema.
At the Christ the King Preparatory School, a private school near the Jamestown Lighthouse in Accra, Mr Chasant urged the children to minimise their exposure to air pollutants emanating from the Abbatoir.
He observed that the use of scrap tyres to singe livestock at the nearby Jamestown Abattoir generated toxic smoke, which polluted the air, posing a serious health risk to residents of the area, including the school children.
He expressed regret that although his company had advised operators of the Abattoir to stop using scrap tyres as a source of fuel for singeing slaughtered animals, due to the health hazards it posed, the situation had persisted.
Mr Chasant, therefore, called on the Accra Metropolitan Assembly to enforce the laws on sanitation and environment to protect the health of the people.
Distributing some masks to workers of the OMCs inside the Global Haulage Complex at Tema, opposite the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), Mr Chasant called on the Environmental Protection Agency to come to the aid of the workers who had suffered from hazardous pollution from a nearby iron and steel factory.
“The toxic pollution from the iron rods and steel facility adjacent the offices of the OMCs and TOR, is some of the worst I have seen in the Greater Accra Region.”
Despite repeated complaints about the poor air quality in the area by the businesses, nothing had been done to salvage the situation, Mr Chasant said.
He explained that the distribution of free particulate respirators by ATCL was in response to the call by the workers for something to be done about the poor air quality in the area, caused mainly by the iron rods and steel factory.
He called for rigourous measures to address air pollution in Ghana generally, as well as publication of air quality data by the EPA.