Pollution is among the major problems facing different countries around the world. African countries, in specific, make up the most significant percentage of countries struggling to eradicate pollution fully. While some African countries have already made significant steps to fight pollution, others have not yet. For instance, pollution in Ghana is one of the worrying trends that has caught the attention of the government and other concerned bodies from different parts of the world. Precisely, Ghana is committed to enhancing green spaces for its people.
Over the years, there has been a worrying trend of people losing their lives due to air pollution. As you all know, Agbogbloshie is one of the largest scrap yards in Africa. This electronic waste dump releases high volumes of toxic substances to the atmosphere. Some of the significant poisonous substances released from these dump site are lead and cadmium. In case you did not know, these substances are deadly as they interfere with our respiratory systems. You can imagine what happens to close to 5000 people who visit the dump site daily to collect valuable metals to earn their living.
Sadly, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) report of 2016, over 28,000 citizens died prematurely as a result of air. Well, I know you are wondering whether the government is doing making any steps to control these figures or not.
What causes pollution in Ghana?
Ghana, like any other African country, faces almost all types of pollution. However, there are two common types of pollution that are becoming a threat to them—air and water pollution. More specifically, Ghana is associated with air pollution, which, for a very long time, has taken away the lives of many citizens. Some of the major forms of air pollution in Ghana include:
- Toxic smoke from motor vehicles
- Careless open burning of waste in residential places
- Biomass burning- This is very common since a more significant percentage of its citizens rely on charcoal and wood for cooking.
- Dust from under-developed roads and industries in urban areas
Who are the most affected by pollution?
It is incorrect to assume that the entire Republic of Ghana faces the problem of pollution. Some parts of the country are clean and safe. People living in rural areas are more reliable than people staying in Accra and other urban populated areas. Even so, the country is set to develop active air quality monitoring networks in all levels; rural and urban. Why? Some people in rural areas suffer the consequences of illegal mining. For instance, "Galamsey mining"has exposed people to unnecessary dangers. In fact, they have polluted rivers to an extent people are in fear of contracting deadly diseases like cholera, dysentery, and Typhoid.
How serious is pollution in Ghana?
Like Burundi and Kenya, Ghana has come up with effective strategies to help clean its environment. For example, Ghana's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plans to protect the public from poor air quality. To get a clear picture, below are the initiatives the government has initiated to fight pollution.
How the government plans to fight pollution
While some may people feel like the government is doing little to conserve the environment, there is much going on behind the scenes.
Ghana has researched and concluded that the best way to tackle pollution in the country is by partnering with the locals, state, and federal governments. Precisely, the plan here is to solve every pollution problem depending on the nature of pollution. The government is set to establish partnerships for:
- Air toxic,
- Tribal government,
- Regional haze,
- Ozone layer protection,
- Acid rain, and
- Common pollutants.
If properly executed, this is one of the significant steps the government is set to take to solve pollution once and for all. All it takes is determination and support to achieve the results.
2. Creating awareness of the effects of pollution
In an interview with the Ghanaian Times, Mr. Chesant emphasized the importance of creating awareness about the dangers of pollution in the country. He pointed out the importance of embracing environmental campaigns such as the World Environment Day which takes place every year. In his view, he stressed that some of these campaigns could serve significantly to reduce air pollution. In addition, he insisted that the country can make use of some of these campaigns to distribute air masks to school children in urban areas as well as employees working in Oil Marketing Companies.
3. Controlling urbanization and population growth
As mentioned earlier, most Ghanaians live in urban areas. A considerable number of its population resides in Accra, Kumasi, and Tokaradi. This vast population has led to massive activities taking place in these cities. Thus, the country ought to work together with all stakeholders to control population growth to create a cleaner environment. Perhaps, creating more job opportunities in rural areas can help to reduce huge populations in cities.
4. Offering EPA more support
The Environmental Protection Agency needs further resourcing to increase its efficiency. Environmental experts consider this an ideal step. In return, the government can collect data from the agency and use it for research to help knowledgeably fight the problem. While some may oppose this move, it is very essential. If the agency can work adequately, the government will be able to know when how to manage its citizens from the dangers of pollution. We are talking about saving the lives of innocent school children.
It is no doubt that Ghana stands to be one of the most polluted countries on the planet. Pollution in Ghana can only be controlled if all stakeholders can work together and support concerned bodies such as the Environmental Protection Agency. Like Burundi, Ghana can create a pollution-free environment where people can live and work productively. Precisely, it is time for Ghana to concentrate its efforts to fight pollution to ensure no deaths are resulting from pollution.