Dr Bernice Adiku Heloo, Deputy Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, said government would continue to make efforts to support the implementation of remediation of contaminated sites to address pollution and contamination.
Dr Heloo said the country is a party to the Stockholm Convention of Article 6 Section 1 (e) which states that “parties shall endeavour to develop appropriate strategies for identifying sites contaminated by chemicals; if remediation of these sites is undertaken, it shall be performed in an environmentally sound manner”.
She was speaking in Accra on Tuesday at a national meeting on contaminated sites assessment aimed at offering a unique opportunity for participants to address contemporary pollution and contamination challenges facing the country.
The programme is in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation with the Blacksmith Institute from the United States, under the ambit of the Global Alliance on Health and Pollution.
Dr Heloo said the importance of the meeting was due to the fact that issues relating to toxic chemicals and persistent organic pollutants and the resultant are devastating health effects, which degrade the quality of the environment.
She said the problem of artisanal gold mining and illegal mining referred to as “galamsey” using mercury in the country has been high on the agenda of government.
Dr Heloo said mercury has been reported in human blood, human urine and fish in the Birim North District.
She said the Electricity Company of Ghana and the Volta River Authority installations countrywide where transformer repair and maintenance occurs, are sources and sites of high risk of Polychlorinated Biphenyls contamination.
“I am confident that this meeting will stimulate discussions towards practical intervention strategies and related support that is needed to solve pollution problems in the country, especially in sites where children are concerned,” she added.
Mr Samuel Anku, Deputy Executive Director, Environmental Protection Agency said the Agency has the responsibility of implementing global and national programmes on sound and sustainable environmental management .
He said the Agency has had the opportunity in one or two ad hoc instances to work with the Blacksmith Institute on contamination survey of the Agbogbloshie e-scrap area on hazardous emissions that have damaging health effects.
He said there was the need to set up a contaminated sites reference centre for the continual investigation of sites, collation and maintenance of the on-line contaminated sites database and develop criteria for designing contaminated sites.