The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as part of its customer service week, has engaged auto sprayers in Tema to sensitize them on the need to acquire an environmental permit to ply their trade.
The Environmental Assessment Regulations 1999, LI 1652 stipulates that it is an offence for any person to commence a project, development, investment without an Environmental Permit.
Mr William K. Hayfron-Acquah, Chief Programme Officer at the EPA, said as part of acquiring an Environmental Permit, the sprayers must take measures to control the various pollutions associated with their job in line with international best practices.
Mr Hayfron-Acquah mentioning some of the effects of auto-spraying, said their activities could lead to the contamination of ground water and the soil explaining that waste chemicals from storage containers improperly disposed off could drained into the soil.
He added that improper transfer of defiled clothes utilized for cleaning works, and the use of oil containing hazardous materials were all sources of environmental pollution as soil contamination added to air pollution by discharging unstable mixes into the air.
“So the more poisonous mixes soil contains, the greater the air pollution it creates and can lead to water pollution if toxic chemicals leach into groundwater, ” he indicated.
He noted that solid waste from spraying yards included, metal extra parts comprising of leaf springs and coils, gaskets, engine blocks, and clutch plates adding that tires, battery cases, timing belts, bulbs, light fittings, seats, pads and electrical cables among others all contributed to environmental pollution when not disposed properly.
Air contamination was another effect he mentioned indicating that the emission of gases into the atmosphere could cause global warming and acid rain.
Noise pollution was also rampant in spraying areas due to the tinkering sound of metal works, motor testing at higher cycles when pounding metal, running of compressors for spray painting among others, according to him.
Mr Hayfron-Acquah therefore encouraged the artisans to comply with the pollution control measures which included spraying in an enclosed area, regular servicing of compressors, no breaks in rubber hose, spraying gun must be in good condition and desisting from pointing muffler of generator set towards a neighbour’s window.
Other conditions were that residual paint should not be poured or discharged into drains or the ground but rather stored in a drum for collection by accredited persons, while “panel beating shall be carried out between the hours of 0700 – 1700 hours in a mixed-use area”.
Mrs Audrey Quarcoo, Head of Client Relations Department at the EPA and Mrs Irene Opoku, Director of the EPA, Tema Regional Office, recounted how officials from their outfit visited the spray yard at the Tema light industrial area for compliance and enforcement monitoring during which they discovered that the sprayers were aware of the provisions of the law stating that they must acquire the environmental permit.
They stated that they found it prudent to use the customer service week to engage and sensitize the artisans on the need to observe good environmental practices and comply with the laws governing their operations.
Mr Kofi Brako, Member of Parliament for Tema Central, on his part, thanked the EPA for the engagement and reiterated the need for compliance saying, government had resolved to put in measures to protect the environment therefore the need for citizens to also do their part in their vicinities.
The workers asked questions on their operations, burning of tyres, and the need for the provision of toilet facilities in the area among other issues.