Expert Says Tackling Air Pollution Can Reduce Strokes, Heart Disease And Lung Cancer At AMA Stakeholder Engagement

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The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) has held a one-day stakeholder engagement for community leaders, traders and vendors on urban health Initiative aimed toward improving air quality within the city.

The essence of the engagement is to assist reduce air pollution-related diseases like lung disorders, stroke and vital sign which had been on the rise in recent years, explain the Assembly’s waste segregation programme also because the effects of pollution and its health impacts on city dwellers.

Speaking at the event persisted Thursday at the town hall in Accra, Mr Desmond Appiah, the Chief Sustainability Advisor to the Mayor of Accra, Mohammed Adjei Sowah, said the Assembly decided to compile stakeholders who were susceptible to poor air quality and whose actions could also be resulting in pollution within the air to understand the results of pollution .

“This project has been happening for a few year now, we’ve engaged selected communities, churches, schools among others and today we believe that it had been right to compile street vendors, informal waste collectors and pickers, market women also as transport operators to possess an appreciation on the sale of the challenge and what are often done about it. we expect the primary step is getting data and sharing the knowledge ,” he said.

He reiterated that the indiscriminate burning of waste, fumes from vehicles and unclean cooking methods were a number one explanation for pollution within the city adding that in Ghana, 1000 people die of pollution .

He admonished women ” to adopt the utilization of unpolluted cooking methods like stoves and LPG gas in their homes, indicating that the practice would go an extended thanks to help within the fight against pollution .”

Mr Appiah also appealed to city dwellers to desist from waste burning and encouraged them to segregate their waste before giving them to the accredited waste collectors.

He revealed that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had introduced a law to ban vehicles that produce fumes within the city and arrest the driving force .

Dr Kofi Amegah, a Senior Lecturer of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, at The University of Cape Coast, during a presentation on “Air pollution in Accra City: Vulnerable Populations, Health Impacts and Interventions” said pollution was a serious environmental risk to health and by reducing pollution levels countries could reduce health conditions like strokes, heart condition also as carcinoma among others.

He said major sources of pollution in Accra were vehicular emissions, industrial emissions, resuspended road dust, emissions from landfill sites, power generation plants, use of solid fuels for domestic and commercial cooking and solid waste burning reception .

He disclosed that 7 million people die prematurely per annum from pollution adding that among these deaths 34 per cent, 21 per cent and 20 per cent were from Ischaemic heart diseases, pneumonia and strokes respectively.

He said 19 per cent of the deaths related to pollution were also from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) while 7 per cent were from carcinoma .

He acknowledged that pollution was the presence of drugs within the atmosphere that were harmful to the health of humans and other living beings, or cause damage to the climate or to materials a number of which he said might be solid particles, liquid droplets, or gases like ammonia, carbon monoxide gas , sulfur dioxide , nitrous oxides, methane and chlorofluorocarbons, particulates, both organic and inorganic biological molecules.

He noted that it had been the responsibility of each individual to make sure the cleanliness of the town and appealed to drivers to also service their vehicles regularly to scale back pollution.

” i might wish to advise that we patronise conveyance , ride bicycles and use Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) rather than using firewood,” he said.

This engagement forms a part of the Urban Health Initiative’s BreatheLife Accra project which is together with the planet Health Organization (WHO) with support from the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC).