ACCRA, The Ghana Association for Radiation Protection (GARP), with a focus on; “Protecting People and the Environment for Sustainable Development,” was on Friday launched in Accra.

As a professional association, its mission is to promote excellence in radiation protection by providing benchmarks of good practice and enhancing professional competence and networking.

It was also to promote the application of the highest standards of professional conducts, skills and knowledge for the benefit of individuals and society.

The Association is currently registered with the Registrar Generals Department under the Companies Act, (Act 179) of 1963 and is a member of the International Radiation Protection Association.

It opens its membership to various categories of students and professionals in the field of radiation protection.

The occasion was also used to introduce its eight-member interim executives with Professor Cyril Schandorf as the President to lead the Association in the achievement of its mission, vision and objectives.

The rest of the executives are Dr Joseph K. Amoako, Vice President, Dr Stephen Inkoom, Secretary, Mrs Cynthia K. Engmann, Assistant Secretary, Dr Francis Otoo, Organiser, Mr Philip Deatanyah, Assistant Organiser, Mr Razak A. Awudu, Treasurer, and Ms Rita Kwabea Osei, Assistant Treasurer.

Dr Kwaku Aning, Member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors, lauded the establishment of the Association, saying it was a great stride towards the protection of both humans and the environment from the harmful effects of radiation, particularly those generated artificially.

He urged the Association to make choices anchored on sustainable development, and position itself as a competent, unbiased and undoubted in its mission, highly ethical, professional and knowledgeable in Radiation Protection issues.

“There is no room for incompetence” he said, and urged that it positioned itself to effectively collaborate with other national and international Associations.

Dr Aning explained that although ionizing radiation existed naturally all over in the atmosphere, especially after certain travel distances from the earth, and also uranium emissions from underground, there were also manmade sources which include those used medically for x-rays and the treatment of cancers, agriculture and industrial purposes such as in mining and aircraft maintenance.

He said as much as those natural sources were harmful they existed in very minimal quantities and, therefore, did not pose much harm, compared to the manmade ones that could be very dangerous with severe consequences to both humans and the environment if not well protected and managed.

Ionizing radiation, he said, could either be dangerous or beneficial depending on how it was used, and charged the Association to advance its objective and purpose by promoting knowledge, information, research and promoting networking opportunities for professionals in the field or related ones.

Dr Aning said it was also crucial for the Association to ensure proper radiation protection for occupational, medical and public exposure by ensuring the appropriate use and disposal of man-made radiation sources.

He was also passionate about finding sustainable solutions to the country’s current predicament regarding illegal mining, saying the massive and irresponsible pollution and poisoning of some water bodies and reserved forest lands was unacceptable and must be halted before the situation got out of control.

Prof. Cyril Schandorf, the Interim President of GARP, said the Association would focus and place much emphasis on protecting plants and animals to save many from extinction.

He encouraged stakeholders to research into radiation science, develop standards and disseminate safety information to the benefit of all.

Prof. Isaac Kwame Abor, the Deputy Director-General, Nuclear Regulatory Authority, assured the Association of the full co-operation of the outfit.