Over 6500 Ghanaians die every year from air pollution, according to a research report by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The situation is worsened by the fact that acute respiratory illness caused by air pollution is one of the top 10 causes of outpatient hospital visits in the country.
Joy News’ Raymond Acquah explores the impact of air pollution on Ghanaians, to mark the World Earth Day.
World Earth Day was first celebrated in 1970, and is now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network and celebrated in more than 193 countries each year.
On this day, April 22 each year, events are held worldwide to demonstrate support for environmental protection.
Research has shown that, globally, air pollution kills more people than road accidents, HIV/AIDS and malaria put together.
The report estimates that about 170,000 people die prematurely each year in Africa due to outdoor air pollution. The situation is no different in Ghana.
Air pollution is a significant risk factor for a number of health conditions including respiratory infections, cardiovascular diseases such as stroke, lung and other forms of cancers and asthmas.
Medical geographer at the University of Ghana, Professor Samuel Agyei-Mensah, explains that though the national air pollution levels in Ghana are higher than that of the WHO’s standards, one is more likely to die from the pollution depending on where they live.
“Depending on where you live and the type of fuel you use and the exposures based on environment factors make a very significant impact. We noticed that at densely populated areas like Nima, James Town, the levels were relatively high compared to the high-class residential area of East Lagon and middle-class area, Asylum Down,” he explained.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says it will soon begin cracking the whip on cars that pollute the environment.
Head of Public Affairs at the EPA told Angelina Mensah Joy News that emission tests will be included in the road worthy examinations for all cars soon.
“All the cars that are going for their road worthiness, every car, every motor will be tested not only fresh cars coming in,” she assured.
It has been a policy that only cars with low emission should be certified by the Drivers License Authority (DVLA).
But this has not been implemented because some mechanic workshops have to be set up to check the vehicles.
Angelina Mensah pleaded with DVLA to set up forthwith the mechanic shops.