Mr Muntaka Chasant, a Social Entrepreneur, said any attempt to downplay the health hazards caused by air pollution in the country, particularly at Agbogbloshie, a major trading area in Accra, would be detrimental to the fight against the menace.
He cautioned that the health risk as a result of smoke emanating from burning refuse, electrical waste (e-waste), radial tires for copper and steel was not an exaggeration, as it was backed by scientific evidence.
Mr Chasant, who is also a campaigner for clean environment, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, in Accra on Thursday, called on the authorities to support efforts by conservationists to tackle toxic air pollution in Agbogbloshie and other parts of the country.
“Photographs and video scenes of smoke billowing from the area are not from past records…They are images of recent occurrences at the place,” he said.
“Poisonous air pollution from the area has worsened in the last couple of months. New burning sites of e-wastes are springing up every now and then.”
Mr Chasant said recent documentaries by some private television stations in Accra accurately portrayed the current state of affairs at the area.
He appealed to individuals, organisations and the Government to pool resources and address problems of unsafe dismantling of e-waste, open burning of electrical wires and radial tires for copper and radial steel recovery, and the unsafe disposal of electronic components such as circuit boards at the area.
Mr Chasant said the technical training facility there only attempted to tackle the unsafe dismantling of e-waste and did not provide a solution for the open burning of electrical wires and electronic components to recover precious metals.
“Thousands of Accra residents, who visit Agbogbloshie every day to buy food stuffs and other items, should be able to verify that toxic smoke from the burning of electrical wires at the area has not ceased,” he indicated.
Mr Chasant said both local and international journalists and experts should be encouraged to provide fair assessment of the environmental and health hazards related to air pollution and recycling of e-waste at Agbogbloshie and other places.
“Several studies, including a recent one by the Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) Elimination Network, have discovered toxins in food and soil samples from Agbogbloshie. There are cattle ranches all over the scrap yard and the cattle regularly roam the e-waste landfill. Where do you think the meat from these cattle end up?” Mr Chasant asked.
He said: “The continuous use of scrap tires to singe livestock at Jamestown and Agbogbloshie is a very serious health danger.”
“Agbogbloshie remains a toxic threat, and as one of the largest open food market in Accra, residents should be aware of the environmental and health hazards at the place.”