The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) has urged traditional leaders within the Metropolis to use their influence to sensitise citizens on the dangers of air pollution to their health and the environment.
Speaking at a durbar held at the Bannerman Park in Korle Gonno a suburb of Accra to sensitise the community and traditional leaders in the area on improving air quality, Chief Resilience and Sustainability Advisor to the Mayor of Accra, Mr Desmond Appiah, indicated that traditional leaders have the upper hand in swaying citizens to desist from acts that cause air pollution.
He stressed that air pollution was of great concern to the assembly due to its health impact on city dwellers, adding that about 28000 people have lost their lives as a result of that act.
“The assembly in partnership with the World Health Organization, Ghana Health Service and the Ghana Education Service, we are piloting this programme called Urban Health Initiative, in relation to air pollution. It is recorded that over 28000 people die in Ghana every year as a result of air pollution. Accra alone records over 2000 of such cases” he said.
He said that the first phase of the Urban Health Initiative (UNI) program which was carried out in James Town and Mamprobi last year was a success hence the extension to Chorkor and North Kaneshie.
Mr Appiah urged all to inculcate the habit of waste segregation in homes and schools in order to reduce the level of waste generated in the city as well as the cost of collection of waste.
“When you segregate your waste the whole process of recycling becomes easier. This is because you have to invest a lot of time and money to process and recycle unsegregated waste, working with segregated waste is cost-effective.”
According to him, this initiative aids in promoting waste segregation and creating employment opportunities for the youth.
He mentioned that as part of this initiative the Assembly was collaborating with the Forestry Commission to plant three million trees in Accra.
The National Program Manager of the World Health Organization (WHO), Gordon Dakuu, said that the Urban Health Initiative(UHI) program was intended to fight against air pollution in cities and reduce deaths and diseases caused by air pollution by engaging stakeholders within the metropolis.
“The urban health initiative has come as an eye-opener to us it has not come to solve all problems for us but just to give us an idea as to what we can do as a community to preserve our environment and to improve the quality of lives of ourselves and children especially,” he added.
He, therefore, encouraged city dwellers to adopt the habit of tree planting since this would go a long way to improve the quality of air breath.
The Korle Gonno Mantse, who chaired the program, Nii Tackie Owuowuo IV, expressed his support for the initiative and urged all residents in Korle Gonno to desist from acts that bring about air pollution.
The Korle Gonno Development Chief, Nii Obedro in his welcome address expressed his willingness to support the initiative.
He indicated that climate change was a global issue which cannot be ignored by citizens, hence the need for city dwellers to be more vigilant in fighting it.