Ghana, now has an air quality standard and regulations have been on-going says the head of the Environmental Quality Department at the Environmental Protection Agency EPA, Emmanuel Appoh.
The Standards, according to Appoh, are to regulate the environment and also protect the public health from air pollution, motor vehicle emissions, amongst others.
Speaking to the media at the air quality presentation by Columbia University researcher Daniel Westervelt, Emmanuel Appoh said Ghana now has air quality standards, quality management and communication plans for improved quality.
“As you know, Ghana now has air quality standards, that have been published and regulations is ongoing. We also have the communication plan for the greater Accra region.”
“Ghana here though not the whole country we have monitors in Accra. About 15 of them and also 15 low cost sensors. The ultimate goal is to calibrate the low cots sensors with the new ones that we are going to get. Then we will deploy them to areas that we do not have”, he indicated.
He said EPA was currently developing regulations on motor vehicle emissions, ambient air quality and point source/stack emissions, effluent discharges into the environment.
Although environmental challenges are identified as a major developmental concern in Ghana, he noted that media attention to and reportage on the issues will bring a great result.
“There seems to be a disconnect among scientists working on environmental issues, the media and journalists, have the responsibility of communicating those issues to the public, and the public whose day to day activities impact on or are impacted by the environment,” he said.
Research Scientist at Columbia University, Dr. Daniel Westervelt has raised concerns on the need for Ghana to put in place a good waste management policy to improve the country’s air quality. He described as poor the quality of air in Ghana, as he highlighted the adverse effects of such a situation on the health of citizens.
Speaking to the media on the quality of air in Ghana, he lamented on the poor air quality blaming the cause on refuse burning, agricultural burning, vehicle emissions, large cities with a lot of inhabitants, regional biomass burning, and traditional pollutants sources such as industry.
“There is a lot of things that in a perfect world it could be done but we have to understand that this is not a place that has all the resources as well as the abilities compared to say the US. I certainly think that some of the open burning issues, if the government could help avoid that issues by promoting other waste disposal systems as well as policies, which will go a long way to improve air quality and other health issues as well.”
He, therefore, called for broader stakeholder consultation to come up with an effective waste management policy to alleviate air pollution.
Dr. Westervelt further compared air quality across the globe as he noted that Africa needed much more attention.
Dr, Westervelt, who identified the causes and effects of the poor air quality in Ghana, and West Africa as a whole, recommended capacity building with local researchers, sharing knowledge, scholar exchange as some of the tools to tackling the issue.
To tackle air pollution, which is the major cause of the poor quality of air in Ghana, Dr, M Westervelt, advised that the government increase awareness on the consequences of air pollution, as well as increase availability of data.
“People might not know the consequences of air pollution. The effect is not immediate and that’s why we need to educate them on the negative effects of polluting the air. Having data and sharing data is very important,” he said.