Personnel of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will from May 2020 undergo a training to enable them to monitor and provide real time data on air quality in Accra, Mr Emmanuel E-K Appoh, Chief Programme Officer, Environmental Quality Department has announced.
He said all the paper works had been completed as the training is set to start next year to address the hydra-headed air pollution concerns in the capital city of Ghana.
Mr Appoh was speaking to the Ghanaian Times in Accra yesterday at a media sensitisation on improved air quality and health press conference in Accra.
Once the training is completed, the Chief Programme Officer of Environmental Quality Department said the personnel would be able to predict pollution episodes in good time to prevent air pollution threats to persons suffering from asthma and cardiovascular diseases.
He said the World Bank was executing the project under the Pollution Management, Environment and Health project in three countries including Ghana, Nigeria and Egypt.
With an estimated 28,000 Ghanaians dying annually from air pollution related diseases according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Mr Appoh noted that timely dissemination of information was necessary to avert needless deaths.
He observed that although the EPA had 15 regulatory stations in Accra, the provision of accurate and timely data on pollution remained a challenge as the process is slow and did not give “direct reading”.
He stated that the EPA was enforcing by-laws and implementing projects to ensure Ghanaians breathe quality air.
Mrs Comfort M Kugblenu, the Deputy Director of Nursing Service at the Ghana Health Service (GHS) said everyone is at risk of being infected with cardiovascular diseases.
She called for attitudinal change if Ghana was to make progress in the fight against air pollution related deaths.
Mrs Kugblenu stated that air pollution was a global public health emergency causing seven million deaths each year.
She said a report by the WHO indicated that a large number of the global pollution breaths polluted air, adding that one in every eight deaths was due to air pollution diseases.
In addition, the Deputy Director of Nursing Services said Ghana lost between $226 million to $300 million in 2015 due to air pollution diseases.
She mentioned upper respiratory tract infections, cardiovascular diseases, pneumonia, asthma, lung cancer, stroke and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases as some air pollution diseases.
Mr Desmond Appiah, Chief Resilience and Sustainability Advisor, Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) said the assembly was collaborating with the various institutions to improve the quality of air in Accra.
He said the AMA was initiating projects aimed at addressing sanitation which constitutes air pollution.
Mr Appiah who is also a special advisor to the Metropolitan Chief of AMA, Mohammed Adjei Sowah, appealed to the media to support the cause of educating Ghanaians on good environmental practices.
The event was attended by a select print and electronic media and organised by the WHO in collaboration with the AMA, EPA, GHS and Climate and Clean Air Coalition.
BY MALIK SULLEMANA