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EPA directive against air pollution at Tema Free Zones fails

Despite various interventions and directives by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on air pollution by some steel factories at the Tema Free Zones Enclave, checks show the situations have rather gone worse.

The EPA in February partially shut down the operation plant of United Steel until the company fixed its pollution control system. 

Deputy Executive Director of the EPA, Ebenezer K. Appah-Sampong told JoyBusiness no extension of the deadline will be considered after three failed attempts to get the issue fixed.

“United Steel asked for an extension of two weeks after the January 31 deadline. But we at the EPA can’t give such an extension. We have come to inspect the premise and even though progress has been made, pollution is still rife. To this end, we are directing that the production line of United Steel be shut down until the pollution control system is fixed. Failure to comply will result in severe repercussions,” he stated.

The partial closure of United Steel was reconsidered after checks by the EPA shows the steel manufacturing company had fixed its pollution control system. Despite these interventions by the EPA, some steel factory workers say “dark smoke is still emitted and we have no option but to work in these dangerous conditions or risk losing our contracts”.

One such worker, Felix, narrated how he “visited the hospital frequently since starting this job”. Other workers also claimed of “coughing blood” and “feeling week” after hours of working in such a polluted environment.

Health publications have shown that the presence of chemicals, particulates or biological compounds in the atmosphere can harm human and animal health and damage the environment.

Photos and videos cited by JoyBusiness show plumes of black smoke being emitted from steel factories at the Free Zone Enclave.https://youtu.be/gwYO-QNoGks

Steel manufacturing company, MND Metals Co Ltd, has lost $800,000 to the 2-year long menace of pollution at the Tema Free Zones Enclave. 

Managing director of the company, Mahmoud El-Kurdi, tells Joy Business, despite various interventions by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) to clamp down on steel factories – Rider Steel and United Steel – over breaches in air regulations by the EPA, air pollution persists.

“As investors and dealers in metal waste management, our contribution to Ghana’s metal waste management is stalled, especially when doing business at the Tema Free Zones Enclave amid the unregulated smoke pollution has left us at a loss of $800,000 so far.”

Before establishing our business at the Tema Free Zones Enclave, we were guided by the environmental regulations of the Free Zones as well as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Ironically, these guidelines are been flouted by these steel factories despite interventions by the EPA,” Managing Director of MnD Metals, Mahmoud El-Kurdi stated.

Improving Surveillance

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has told Joy Business is beefing up surveillance at United Steel and Rider Steel after some pictures and videos cited shows the emission of smoke in contravention of EPA’s directive and air regulations. 

Deputy Director of the EPA, Ebenezer K. Appah-Sampong has been speaking to JoyBusiness on the next way out for United Steel.

“We are monitoring with the security and will take the necessary actions. There are various things that we can do and we are exploring those. Currently, we are also liaising with the police to ensure they comply,” Mr Appah-Sampong told Joy Business.

Factories and other industrial installations have caused such pollution since the dawn of the industrial age by burning fuels, carrying out chemical processes and releasing dust and other particulates and Ghana is no exception.

Ghana ranked 124 in the 2018 Environmental Performance Index (EPI) which ranks 180 countries on environmental health and ecosystem vitality. What this means is that the country has performed poorly when it comes to being environmentally safe.

myjoyonline.com

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