Monitoring of air quality to protect public health in Tema remains a challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) because the air monitoring equipment which contains metals has been stolen.
The Deputy Director of the EPA, Emmanuel Appoh, told the Ghanaian Times that EPA has installed the equipment to monitor the quantity of harmful particles and chemicals in the air.
Industrial activities and heavy vehicular movement in the industrial hub of Tema is a source of air pollution with its attendant health implications.
He explained that poor air quality came with diseases including upper and lower track infections which had been ranked by the Ghana Health Service in its 2010 report as among the top 20 disease burden in Ghana.
Mr. Appoh said the other 15 air quality monitoring sites across residential, industrial and commercial areas in the Accra metropolis were also at risk of theft.
When asked why the sites could not be fenced to prevent theft, The Deputy Director said the equipment worked best in an open area. Mr Appoh expressed worry about the quality of air, saying “it is not too good, we need to do a thorough work on it.”
He said the Air Quality Index(AQI) yardstick runs from 0-500 adding that the higher the AQI, the greater the level of air pollution and the health implications.
“An AQI value of 100 generally corresponds to the national air quality standard for the pollutants, which is the level the EPA has set to protect public health.
“AQI values below 100 are generally thought of as satisfactory; when AQI values are 100, air quality is considered to be unhealthy at first for certain sensitive groups of people, then for everyone, as AQI values get higher,” Mr. Appoh explained.
Mr Appoh said air quality monitoring was a very expensive venture, adding that the EPA requires adequate resources to address the problem.
Source: Salifu Abdul-Rahaman/Ghanaian Times