The government of Ghana has been asked to prioritize policies that help protect the environment and the safety of people as the world marks earth day.
Country Director for Pure Earth Ghana, a civil society group that works in the area of lead and mercury poisoning advocacy, made the call when he spoke at a durbar of students and teachers of the Labone Senior High School in Accra.
“In Ghana, a variety of pressing issues make this day an important one, especially around this time. The world is faced with a climate crisis with its attendant concerns for the safety of the earth and the people who live on it. Pollution in all forms, is at an all-time high with Accra, the country’s capital, recording air quality which is 49.6 times higher than the WHO annual air quality guideline value,” he said.
The day was marked at the school to enable the organization to take advantage of the large population of young people within the country’s second-cycle institutions. More than 200 students attended the durbar together with teaching and non-teaching staff.
“We at Pure Earth Ghana have been working since 2020 to also draw attention to key environmental challenges like lead and mercury pollution across the country. Through our work with partners like the Ghana Health Service, and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) we are working to address some of these environmental challenges. Through Pure Earth’s Toxic Site Identification Project (TSIP), we have discovered more than 205 toxic sites across the country with excessive heavy metal pollution such as Lead and Mercury. This has serious consequences for the health of the citizenry especially children and young people,” Mr Quansah said.
Wilson Baku, Technical Project Director at Pure Earth Ghana spent time outlining some of the popular practices in our daily lives that could be a source of lead poisoning. He spoke about the use of some cooking utensils, and broken down car batteries that are not well taken care of among others.
Assistant Headmistress of the Labone SHS, Madam Adelaide Boye, bemoaned the need for students to keep to the highest standards of personal hygiene in order to protect themselves from such hazards. She also called for young people to play their own roles within their communities to help protect the environment.
This year’s World Earth Day was marked around the theme, Invest in our Planet.