Okada Riders

Mr Muntaka Chasant, an Environmentalist advocating for clean air, said harmful gases and particles from motorcycles contribute to environmental pollution in Ghana, and called for the use of electronic motorcycles instead of gasoline-powered ones as mode of transport to curb pollution.

In an interview with the Ghana News Agency on Tuesday, Mr Chasant explained that air pollution remained a major environmental issue in the urban areas and curbing key sources could help to improve air quality and save lives.

“Air pollution remains a leading environmental concern in Ghana, and on-road motorcycle exhaust particles are major contributors to this,” he said.

“Several studies have looked at the impact of these motorcycles on local air pollution, and the results have been consistent — aging gasoline-powered motorcycles contribute significantly to poor air quality in areas where they are used as taxis.”

“Reducing emissions from this source could help to improve public health, thereby reducing risk from heart diseases, stroke, lung cancer, and other illnesses associated with air pollution.”

Mr Chasant said several studies had found that motorcycles in certain situations emitted more air pollutants, including hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide, as compared to passenger cars.

He said motorcycles, popularly known as “Okada,” had helped to create employment for a lot of young people as well as making movement easier for commutators from one area to another, especially as traffic congestion increased.

“However, future impacts should as well be considered. Yes, Okada definitely supports livelihoods, but we should be discussing cleaner transport as we shift towards low-carbon and climate-resilient environment. For instance, can we replace gasoline-powered motorcycles with electric bikes?”

“We can look at it in two ways; we are encouraging young people to release substantial harmful particles into the environment through the use of gasoline-powered motorcycles. These same groups are also at the most risk from occupational exposure to air pollution.”

“Everyone is talking about increasing green spaces in urban areas, while reducing air pollution and encouraging safer and healthy modes of transport. For instance, can we provide an environment that makes cycling and walking a much safer option? Can we consider car-free zones?” he asked.

Mr Chasant, therefore, appealed to the authorities to consider promoting other environmentally-friendly modes of transportation, such as cycling, which would tremendously reduce air pollution to ensure healthy living.

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