Educate publicon explosives, other flammable substances

As of yesterday, the latest news about the Appiatse explosion was that the government and certain organisations had offered cash and some relief items to support the injured and the families affected by the disaster.

Besides, the Electricity Company of Ghana was frantically working to restore power to Appiatse and neighbouring communities, while the government had urged the State Housing Company to liaise with mining companies in the area to carry out a reconstruction plan.

In that plan, the state will rebuild collapsed buildings and provide the necessary support to ensure that the communities resume normal life.

The Ghanaian Times has been forced to revisit the Appiatse disaster in another editorial after the Saturday one not because of the information given above but because of what it sees as lapses that contributed to the devastating explosion.

The Saturday editorial condemned the hasty call for investigation, explaining that it was obvious and thatcurrently, the most important things are grieving, expression of sympathies and condolences and giving some relief to those affected.

Surely, the Ghanaian Times expects a thorough investigation at the right time later but in the interim, it is not out of place to discuss some of the lapses.

The explosion has exposed the laxity in the system, particularly with regard to the transportation of such explosives and other flammable substances from one point to another within the country.

The disaster could have occurred anywhere from the port to its final destination.

Obviously, the explosives are carried by specially-designated vehicles but are they even known as such in the mining communities let alone the rest of the Ghanaian society, especially those along the corridor the explosives are transported.

Once mining activities cannot cease before the findings of any investigation can be made public, what it means is that such explosives shall continue to be carried about so precautionary measures must be highlighted.

For instance, the vehicles carrying them should be conspicuously labelled for the public to, from now on, be cautious of them.

Besides, the experts can now decide the appropriate time to transport them; it is reported that the last Thursday explosion occurred around 4p.m. Was it the right time or the explosion could have been worse if it had happened at night?

Also, there must be police dispatch riders running ahead of the explosive-carrying van cautioning road users, drivers and motorcycle riders especially, of the danger in their vicinity and to contain their impunity.

It is sad that some members of the public always run to every disaster scene even when they know the vehicles involved are loaded with flammable cargo.

They mostly do so in the case of fuel tankers so that they can siphon petrol or diesel to sell and this usually results in the death of some of them and injury to others.

One craze now is to take pictures with mobile phones and put them on the social media.

That is okay because oftentimes these ‘photographers’ are on the spot and capture fascinating scenes before reporters would come in.

However, these people need advice as to which safety precautions to take in such situations to avoid falling victim to the very disasters they wish to ‘cover’.

In all of this, it is now clear that there must be full-scale public education about such explosives and other inflammable or combustible substances or chemicals and how they must be dealt with in transit and when involved in accidents.

Knowing how Ghanaians would always like to play down the importance of things that ironically are designed for their safety in any way possible, such education must be sustained till the members of the public themselves would take them over and prompt one another to what must be done or not.

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