Smoke related illness kills over 13,000 Ghanaians every year

cooking stoveIt is estimated that about 13,700 deaths occurred in the country annually as a result of smoke related-illness, Mr Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, the Minister of Petroleum has said.

According to him, in 2010 Household Air Pollution (HAP) from solid fuels was the third leading risk factor for national disease burden.

Mr Buah disclosed this during the presentation of 8,000 cylinders, stoves and related accessories to be distributed among security officers, teachers, people with disabilities and other vulnerable people in rural communities in the Nkoranza South Municipality, Nkoranza North, Atebubu-Amantin and Pru Districts in the Brong-Ahafo Region.

Each of the districts would receive 2,000 of the cooking items for onward distribution.

The sector Minister pointed out that the government clearly understands the dangers and challenges associated with the use of solid fuels and inappropriate stoves for household activities like cooking.

Mr Buah explained that it is against this background that the Ministry of Petroleum had completed the drafting of the National Policy on Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) promotion.

The policy is to ensure that at least 50 per cent of Ghanaians have access to safe and environmentally friendly LPG for commercial, industrial and domestic use by 2020.

Mr Buah announced the Ministry intends to distribute additional 8000 of the cylinders to some beneficiaries at Wa, Lawra and Nadowli Districts in the Upper West Region.

He explained that the project is sustainable because the new gas processing plant at Atuabo, aside delivering the more than 100 million standard cubic feet of lean gas per day for thermal plant to generate power, is currently producing 500 tons of LPG a day for domestic market.

Mr Buah stated the beneficiaries are well-positioned to obtain regular supply of LPG from Atuabo, in addition to the current imports and thereby preventing a situation where consumers of LPG are forced to return to the use of firewood because of the unavailability of the product on the market.

Mr Buah said government is poised to provide cleaner, healthier and safer form of cooking fuel and ultimately to reduce the number of Ghanaians who die from HAP every year.

“One way we can achieve this is to stop using solid fuel and accept the use of LPG for our household activities because LPG is proven to be clean, safe and efficient,” he added.

Major Derek Oduro (Rtd), Member of Parliament for Nkoranza North reminded the Ministry on the need to avoid partisan politics in the distribution of the items.

He also advised farmers in the area to be cautious in the handling of naked fire to avoid fire outbreak.

Maj Oduro expressed concern about Indian Hemp smoking and peddling among the youth in the area and warned that the law would not be lenient on those who would be caught.

Mr Kwadwo Adjei-Dwomoh, Nkoranza North District Chief Executive said the government had initiated several poverty intervention programmes like the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty and the Social Investment Fund.

He therefore asked especially farmers in the District to liaise with the relevant institutions and agencies to access the facilities to better their lot.

Source: GNA

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