Mr Emmanuel Appoh, Head of Environmental Quality Department, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), said EPA with United States Embassy and Environment360, an NGO are conducting a research in Jamestown to measure the degree of air pollution in the area.
He said the outcome of the research would enable the Agency know the sources of air pollutants within the area and put in measures to curb such practices within the township and reduce the amount of open burning.
He said Jamestown, a Suburb of Accra, had been taken as a case study because it had observed high degrees of open air burning within the community which was generated by burning of wood, smoking of fish and other materials.
He announced this during the US Embassy Air Quality Event with Journalists held in Accra on Wednesday to educate them on the threats of air pollution within the country and the African sub-region.
He said the gathering of data by installing air monitors would aid in gathering of accurate figures to help the Agency give forecasts of possible threats.
“Air pollution does not know anybody and must be given serious attention by all,” he advised.
He said the cost of regulatory grade monitors were very expensive costing about 160,000 dollars for one but with the help of World Bank the Agency would install two of such monitors at the University of Ghana Campus and Adabraka by June 2020 to aid in policy formation and data collection.
He said each monitor had the capacity to cover a radius of four kilometers and would enable the Agency give information on day- to- day reading of the Air Quality Index and forecasting to the citizenry.
Dr Daniel Westervelt, US EPA Air Quality Fellow, said bridging the data gap within the country and the sub-Saharan region was crucial in the fight against air pollution.
He said calibrated low cost air quality monitors such as Purple Air Sensors could be installed in addition to the regulatory grade monitors to aid in data collection across the country at a cheaper cost of 200 dollars each.
He said pollution and health data was not sufficient to address the problem because “you can’t manage what you don’t measure,” adding that providing individuals with open access to data would empower them to take action.
He, therefore, advised that air pollution solutions should be co-produced by U.S and African leadership, adding that New York City in the 1950s and 1960s was saddled with air pollution challenge but with many interventions the situation had improved significantly.
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