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Let’s Fight Air Pollution Together

The past few years have seen many Ghanaians lose their lives and others have lost loved ones to air pollution.

Activities such as illegal mining, road crashes, floods and cholera outbreaks, are, but a few of the myriad of social challenges that have attracted the attention of the populace due to the number of fatalities that are recorded daily.

None however, surpasses the death from air pollution that was published in the Ghanaian Times yesterday.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), air pollution accounts for about 20,000 deaths annually in the country.

The Deputy Executive Director of the EPA, Ebenezer Appah-Sarpong, who made the disclosure, said of the figure, about 2,800 lives were lost in the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA) and it is projected to increase to approximately 4,600 by 2030.

He said, results from a study of Burden Diseases in Ghana in 2010, showed that lower respiratory diseases ranked second to malaria among the 10 top diseases.

According to him, the health hazards of air pollution ranges from acute respiratory infections to long term effects like emphysema, lung cancer, cataract and it is often contracted based on how long a person is exposed to it.

He identified low birth weight, retardation, cardiovascular and circulatory diseases as some of the infections caused by air pollution.

The Ghanaian Times notes with concern the report that children, the elderly and those with already compromised immune systems like asthma are mostly vulnerable.

Another concern is that the situation is likely to increase due to growing rural-urban migration, increase in population at a rate of 2.1 per cent and a daily influx of 2.5 million people into GAMA.

The threat, we are told, would outpace and challenge the already inadequate infrastructure that exits to manage air pollution.

We cannot sit unconcerned while environmental degradation and other human activities plunge our country into continuous mourning.

It is in this light that the Ghanaian Times commends the initiatives and studies being worked on to reduce air pollution and a step in the right direction.

We understand that these initiatives and studies are being undertaken on vehicle emissions strategies and standards, electronic mobility implementation strategies, the elimination of led from gasoline among others.

We urge all relevant stakeholders including the Ghana Health Service, EPA, Ministry of Local Government, Ghana Education Service and Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources to work together for effective implementation of the initiatives and studies to curtail this threat to life.

We also entreat all Ghanaians to be mindful of activities which contribute to air pollution and work together with the authorities to protect our own lives and the environment.

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