Eunice Hilda Ampomah/Grace Princess Tarwo, GNA
Accra, Nov. 14, GNA – Airmask and Textiles Company Limited (ATCL) has distributed ATC face masks to pupils and teachers of the Accra Royal Basic School in Korle-Bu and members of the Jamestown Slaughters Association to minimise their exposure to inhaling polluted air.
The masks will prevent the inhalation of toxins and chemicals produced from poisonous air including smoke.
The distribution followed an observation by the Company on how people within the Jamestown, Korle-Bu, Makola, Agbogbloshie, Old Fadama, and surrounding communities polluted the air through burning of electronic waste, garbage and car tyres to remove the fleece of slaughtered animals as well as smoking of fish.
Mr Muntaka Chasant, the Chief Executive Officer of ATCL, said open burning generated poisonous chemicals including carbon monoxide that caused respiratory tract ailments when inhaled.
He disclosed that 24 per cent of heart diseases and 29 per cent of lung cancers and stroke recorded globally are as a result of inhaling poisonous and polluted air.
Mr Chassant advised the students and the Slaughters Association to stop the indiscriminate pollution of the environment and serve as ambassadors in their homes and communities on the need to keep a clean environment and promote healthy living.
He urged the pupils to question acts of open burning and indiscriminate disposal of refuse as these pose health hazards, which violates environmental laws.
“I am entreating you to gather the courage to tell people who practise open burning and improper disposal of refuse to desist from the act,” he said.
Mr Chasant said it took the Government time and money to implement policies on sanitation problems, therefore, it was the responsibility of every citizen to support in the eradication of the menace.
He said the World Health Organisation (WHO) Report had shown that 28,000 people died from air pollution in Ghana every year and the statistics was higher than the annual Malaria and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) records in Ghana.
Mr Chasant said about half of the people who died from air pollution suffered from indoor air pollution emanating from using coal-pots, fire wood, and burning of refuse in homes.
He, therefore, asked them to advice their families to stay away from open burning or smoke produced from their activities.
He said the World Health Organisation had also reported that more than seven million people died globally every year through air pollution and most of the victims were from developing countries.
During an open forum, the pupils asked questions bordering on why they have not seen any improvement in the sanitation problem, what they should do when they see an adult littering the environment, whether they could wash the face masks when they were dirty; and whether two people could use one mask.
Mr Anthony Mabe, the Head Teacher of the School, expressed gratitude to ATCL for the kind gesture and said the sensitisation had broadened their knowledge on the dangers of inhaling polluted air.
“We didn’t realise that we are exposed to the dangers of air pollution, especially when we are being surrounded by communities that burn wastes including Agbogbloshie, Old Fadama, Korle-Bu, and Jamestown,” he said.
Mr Mutari Ali, the Chairman of the Jamestown Slaughters Association, expressed the appreciation of the Association for the support since the members always slaughtered animals including goats, cattle, and sheep and removed the fleece using fire from burning tyres, coconut shells, and firewood, an act that always generated smoke, which pollutes the air.
He said it was costly and slow to skin the animals using gas and blower machines, and that was their reason for resorting to open burning of tyres, coconut shells and firewood in plying their trade.
A member of the Association said: “When the politicians themselves bring their animals, we slaughter them with this same open burning and they don’t complain. Since using the blower is costly and not fast, we charge higher amounts when one insists that we use the machine for his or her work”.
Mr Ali appealed to researchers and the Government to get the Association health promoting machines and teach members better ways to slaughter and dress their animals without putting the health of their communities at risk.