Trading along the streets is dangerous to health – EPA

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By
Samuel Dodoo, GNA

Accra, Dec. 12, GNA
– Mr Emmanuel Appoh, a Director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
has warned traders along the streets to vacate because vehicle emission was
dangerous to their health.

He said chronic
exposure to smallest particles such as; sulfates and nitrates from vehicles
emission were most associated with diseases and premature deaths in the
country.

Mr Appoh disclosed
this at a media sensitisation in Accra to create awareness of the Urban Health
Initiative (UHI) carried out by the World Health Organisation (WHO)in
collaboration with the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) to improve air quality
and health.

He mentioned other
pollutants with health impacts as black carbon from kerosene, diesel or
biomass, which were the major factors in asthma morbidity and mortality as well
as triggering bronchial symptoms, lung inflammation and reduced lung function.

The Director said
the Clean Climate Air Coalition (CCAC) together with the WHO were collating
data with the sole aim of promoting quality air in the urban areas.

Mr Appoh said air
pollution devices were mounted at Accra, Kumasi, Takoradi and Koforidua to
track emission from vehicles, wind blow of dust, remnants of hamarttan and open
burning of dangerous chemicals.

Mr Gordon Daku, a
representative of the WHO said they would ensure that the Metropolitan,
Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) adhered to the implementation of
recommendations in the Air Pollution Climate Change and Health document.

He said the UHI
project in Ghana had collaborated with the Ministry of Health, the Ghana Health
Service, EPA and the AMA to measure health risks to identify mitigating factors
of pollution.

“A mapping of
existing databases, policies and stakeholders linked to air quality data
sources to inform and support the development of plans and actions to prevent
diseases and address the pollutions in Accra,” Mr Daku said.

He urged the
citizenry to adopt positive behaviours to reduce air pollution in order to
improve health in the communities.

Madam Comfort
Kugblenu of the Ghana Health Service said household and ambient air pollution
caused more than 50 per cent of acute lower respiratory infection in children
under five years in lower- and middle-come countries.

She said a child who
was exposed to unsafe levels of population could face a lifetime health impacts
such as neuro-development, leading to lower cognitive test outcomes and that
air pollution was one of the leading threats to child health, accounting for
almost one in 10 deaths in children under five.

Madam Kugblenu
called for the implementation of policies to meet the WHO air quality
guidelines to enhance the health of children, while investing in renewables and
energy efficiency to reduce over-dependence on fossil fuels.

“There should be
better waste management by reducing waste burning, exclusive use of clean fuels
and appliances for household cooking, hearting and lighting activities, while
schools and playgrounds should be away from sources of air pollution like busy
roads and power plants,” she said.

Mr Desmond Appiah,
Chief Resilient and Sustainability Officer of the AMA said the Assembly was
sensitising the communities on the impact of household energy pollution to
prevent diseases, especially among children.

He said as part of
the communications and outreach component of the UHI, four communities were
part of a “BreatheLife Accra” project namely; Jamestown, Agbogbloshie, Chorkor
and Mamprobi to educate the residents to observe clean environment.

GNA

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