The Ministry of Railways Development is pursuing the revamping and development of railways by employing new technologies.
These technologies, it assured, do not have negative effect on the environment.
Mr Joe Ghartey, Minister of Railways Development, announced this when he spoke at the just-ended Ghana Industry Safety Conference (GHISCON) in Takoradi, organised by the Sekondi-Takoradi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (STCCI) on the theme, “Climate change and occupational health and safety.”
The objective of the conference was to examine the impact of climate change on occupational health and safety and advance strategies for reducing its impact on safety and health of workers.
It was to encourage all stakeholders to immediately start integrating the climate change impacts in their occupational risk assessment approaches and also promote awareness on workplace safety through information sharing and training.
Mr Ghartey said, “The development and patronage of the rail transportation will reduce the amount of green-house gases emitted into the atmosphere and that rail transport is therefore environmentally friendlier as compared to other modes of transport.”
He said, addressing the effects of climate change on human health was a big challenge because both the surrounding environment and the decision that people make influence the health of the society.
The minister added that, “The health implication of climate change is real and there is the need for a coordinated approach in addressing this devastating menace.”
The government and 170 other countries, Mr Ghartey told the conference, had signed the Paris Agreement on Climate Change with the commitment to address the challenges of climate change.
The minister revealed that, Ghana had signed a five-year Emission Reductions Payment Facility, administered by the World Bank, to reduce carbon emission from deforestation and forest degradation, after Mozambique and Democratic Republic of Congo had initialed the deal.
“The ministry, on its part, is pursuing the revamping and development of railways by employing new technologies which do not have negative effect on the environment, thus, land destruction, pollution of water bodies and the air,” he argued assured.
The Railway Minister called on stakeholders within the industry to work towards building an environment that “is safe, stress free and zero harm culture”.
Mr Ghartey mentioned that the ministry was also collaborating with the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT), Tarkwa in the Western Region, to establish the School of Railways and Infrastructure Development and Safety Engineering and Occupational Health and Safety.
The school, he explained, would equip students with the requisite skills to lessen the environmental impact of industrial activities and also develop ways to mitigate the problems caused by these activities.
FROM CLEMENT ADZEI BOYE, TAKORADI