GNA Feature by Christopher Tetteh
Global warming in recent years is as a result of higher percentage of air pollutions such as car exhaust fumes and other human activities, which causes emission of gases into the atmosphere.
The health risks of air pollution are extremely serious. Poor air quality increases respiratory ailments like asthma and bronchitis, heightens the risk of life-threatening conditions like cancer, and burdens health care system with substantial medical costs.
Climate change–threat to Ghana’s hard won gains since independence cannot downplay efforts in managing the global canker as the forests were depleting at a faster rate without any concrete actions.
This calls for a national policy involving the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Climate Change Unit of the Forestry Commission to ensure that matters relating to activities of climate and other pollutants were dealt with unconditionally.
This is because the frequent unregulated human activities were damaging the aquatic ecosystems and destroying the water bodies and adding to the releases of gases into the air by heavy-duty trucks and passengers vehicles.
The situation is resulting in excessive precipitation, droughts, decreasing crop yields and floods in Ghana.
Chainsaw operation and deforestation is depleting the environment and worsening the erratic rainfall pattern and destroying arable lands as well as economic trees such as Shea nut, teak and neem for commercial purposes both local and internationally.
The phenomena aside gradual extinction of minor streams and water bodies for agricultural and domestic purposes is contributing greatly to abysmal poverty, unemployment and hunger compelling mostly young men and women to migrate for greener pastures elsewhere.
Climate change, emission and air pollutions have therefore necessitated the promotion, embracement and usage of Electric Vehicles (EVs) in Ghana, Africa and the globe.
Why Electric Vehicle in Ghana and Africa
Governments of some biggest automotive markets around the world have declared their intentions and have taken bold steps to embrace EVs and take dramatic steps to curb emissions.
France and the United Kingdom (UK) are looking to ban the sale of gas and diesels-powered vehicles from the year 2023.
Norway plans to ban all but electric car sales by 2025. China, the biggest auto market in the World have started plan for an all-out ban on vehicles powered by internal combustion engines.
This is why the Ghana through it Technical Universities has to take a lead role in Africa to ensure that this dream is realized as soon as possible, Dr Samuel Wiafe, the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering of the Sunyani Technical University stated.
He said it was time for Ghana and Africa to follow suit and make plans towards embracing electric vehicles to harness enormous solar energy potential productively to meet climate toxin elimination targets while simultaneously providing clean and affordable means of transport.
The Sunyani Technical University
The University is setting up an E-Vehicle Technologies centre with well-equipped laboratory that would serve in the manufacture of Electric Vehicles and accessories as well as training hub for students and envisage manufacturing and assembling electronic vehicles by 2030, Dr. Wiafe disclosed.
This is part of the University`s long-term plans towards contributing to the nation’s industrialization agenda, he told the Ghana News Agency in an interview.
According to him, EVs were much more efficient means of using energy as they convert about 59 to 62 per cent of the electrical energy from the grid to motive power at the wheels compound to conventional gasoline vehicle which only convert about 17 to 21 per cent of the energy stored in gasoline to power at the wheels.
Need for Electric Vehicles for Africa and Ghana
To curb climate change and emission, Dr. Wiafe said large scale deployment of electric vehicles can lead to stabilization of carbon emission to offset pollution in the transport sector.
Electric mobility will lead to reductions in overall transport cost and in the longer term, lower fuel and maintenance cost largely outweigh additional expenditures for electric cars recharging infrastructure.
Oil and fuel spill from cars and trucks seep into the soil near highways and discarded fuel and particulates from vehicle emissions to contaminate lakes, rivers and wetlands.
Car pollution amongst passenger vehicles and heavy-duty trucks are a major source of pollution which include; ozone, particulate matter, and other smog-forming pollutants stand tall in factors of global warming and global EV manufacturing and usage could remain one of the surest solutions to the climate and emission challenges, he stated.
Carbon monoxide, another exhaust gas, is particularly dangerous to the health of infants and people suffering from heart disease because it interferes with the blood’s ability to transport oxygen. Other car pollutants that harm human health include; sulphur dioxide, benzene and formaldehyde.
What is the aim?
The Sunyani Technical University is aimed at establishing Centre of Excellence for Electric Vehicle Technologies in collaboration with Solar Taxi Limited and GNPC and promotes battery manufacturing and management, because the EV does not contain engine block.
The institution would promote the use of EV with suitable infrastructure and explore the sustainability of EV fueled by a renewable infrastructure while empowering the employability skills of the students and youth in general.
Electric mobility would provide the opportunity to shift to the use of local and natural resources such as the sunlight and even develop vehicles production capacities as well as eradication atmospheric health risk.
The deployment of electric vehicles would create huge value chain direct and indirect employment opportunities for youth.