Mr Desmond Appiah, the Chief Resilience and Sustainability Advisor of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), has urged traditional leaders to sensitise citizens on the dangers that air pollution posed to their health and the environment.
He said traditional leaders have the upper hand in influencing citizens to desist from acts that cause air pollution.
Mr Appiah gave the advice at a durbar held at the Bannerman Park at Korle Gonno in Accra to sensitise community members and traditional leaders on the dangers of air pollution.
He said the sensitisation was a programme dubbed: “Urban Health Initiative,” being piloted by the Assembly in partnership with the World Health Organisation (WHO), Ghana Health Service, and the Ghana Education Service, to improve the health of the people.
“It is recorded that over 28,000 people die in Ghana every year as a result of air pollution. Accra alone records over 2,000 of such cases,” he said.
Mr Appiah said the first phase of the Urban Health Initiative programme, which was carried out in James Town and Mamprobi last year, was a success hence the extension to Chorkor and North Kaneshie.
He urged all to inculcate the habit of waste segregation in homes and schools to reduce the level of waste generated in the city as well as the cost of its collection.
“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.”
He said the initiative had helped in promoting waste segregation and creating employment opportunities for the youth.
Mr Appiah said as part of the initiative the Assembly was collaborating with the Forestry Commission to plant three million trees in Accra.
Mr Gordon Darko, the National Programme Manager of the WHO, said the Urban Health Initiative was intended to fight against air pollution in cities to reduce diseases and deaths by engaging stakeholders within communities.
“The 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 improve the quality of our lives and that of our children,” he said.
Mr Darko, therefore, encouraged city dwellers to adopt the habit of tree planting since this would go a long way to improve the quality of air.
Nii Tackie Owuowuo IV, the Korle Gonno Mantse, who chaired the function, expressed support for the Initiative and called on residents to avoid acts that could pollute the air.
Nii Obedro, the Korle Gonno Development Chief, in a welcoming address, pledged to support the initiative, adding that climate change was a global issue, which could not be ignored, hence the need for city dwellers to be more vigilant to help prevent it.