Journalists charged to champion campaign against air pollution – EPA Boss

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Participants at the workshop
Participants at the workshop

The Acting Director Environmental Quality Specialist at Environmental Protection Agency Mr. Emmanuel Appoh, has appealed to journalist to use their media platforms to sensitise citizens on the dangers of air pollution to their health, the society and environment.

Speaking at a media sensitisation workshop on improved air quality and health in Accra organized by World Bank and Environmental Protection Agency EPA, he said journalists have a crucial role to play to effectively create awareness with the aim of channelling the appropriate information on air pollution and the dangers it poses to the environment.

He pointed out that the issue of air pollution was extremely important to the assembly because of its health impact of city. Adding that air pollution was a silent killer, killing about 28000 people in the country.

“The challenges of air pollution and its impact on health is massive for us in Accra. We have been very conscious of the challenges that affect the city as well as things that can break the city down and as such developed strategies and signed agreements with local and international stakeholders to help address the issue, “he said.

“Through the campaign, we are creating awareness and bringing to the fore the issues of waste burning and its impact on health, promoting waste segregation in communities, encouraging people especially women adopting efficient stove and fuel alternatives for cooking as well as creating of green parks, ” he stressed.

Mr. Emmanuel Appoh, stressed the need for a change in attitude towards the adoption of greener technology to help improve the air quality in the city adding that over 80% of urban dwellers are exposed to polluted air coming from transport, industry and waste.

Mr Appoh’s presentation emphasized that in order to ensure a healthier Ghana; there was the need to engage the media; since they have a crucial role to play to effectively create awareness with the aim of channelling the appropriate information on air pollution and the dangers it poses to the environment.

He also explained that the current quality conditions present an unacceptable health burden for the population of Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA) are not in line with international guidelines for air quality.

According to world Bank Ghana county environmental analysis (2020), air pollution is Ghana’s top environmental danger, accounting for around 8% of total yearly mortality. Since air pollution’s diseases are disproportionately borne by infants and the elderly.

Illnesses associated with air pollution-related deaths include; lung cancer, ischemic heart diseases, stroke, acute lower respiratory infection and chronic pulmonary diseases like bronchitis and emphysema. The report also revealed that the economic cost of air pollution is estimated at US $ 2.5 Billion or roughly 4.2% of the country’s 2017 Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

More so, the impacts of climate and deteriorating air quality threaten to erode development and gains and worsen the health of Ghanaians. As the financial cost of treatment of air pollution-related diseases are very high.

It is in this regard that the World Bank Group and Environmental Protection Agency organized a day’s workshop for the Ghana Agricultural and Rural Development Journalists Association (GARDJA) to help champion the campaign against air pollution in the country.

The workshop was dubbed: “Improving Air Quality Planning and Management for Better Human Health and Environment for Ghana.”

It was held to disseminate information on the “Pollution Management and Environmental Health Programme” a World Bank programme being funded by the governments of Norway, Germany and the United Kingdom to build the capacity of Ghana’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to address existing monitoring and planning gaps for air quality management.

Data on air pollution in Accra are not easily accessible, though it has to be recognized that Accra is in a better position compared to other African cities, because of the existence of a long tradition of measurements and analysis of air pollution data (Schwela 2012).

For his part, Nana Yaw Ruben, the project coordinator for the Ghana Agricultural and Rural Development Journalists Association (GARDJA) appealed to the media to educate the public on the use of clean stoves and fuels.

The project coordinator Nana Yaw Ruben, therefore pledged Ghana Agricultural and Rural Development Journalists Association’s commitment to working around the clock to support the country’s air pollution campaign.

He encouraged GARDJA to use their medium to influence and educate the public by switching from the use of charcoal to LPG. This will protect them from the smoke of the charcoal which causes a lot of respiratory diseases.

By: Bernard K. DADZIE

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