Ghana recognises the benefits and risks associated with chemicals – Minister

Accra, Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, says Ghana recognises the benefits of chemicals as well as the risks associated with the product throughout their lifecycles.

He said as a developing country: We depend on chemicals from agriculture, extractive industries, service and manufacturing industries.

Professor Frimpong-Boateng was speaking at the opening of a two-day workshop on ‘Sustainable Chemistry: Stocktaking and Potential in Ghana’ in Accra.

The workshop organised by the Environmental Protection Agency in collaboration with the German Federal Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety will introduce and examine the concept of sustainable chemistry and explore international good practices evolving among the concept.

It will also investigate existing approaches to sustainable chemistry in various sectors from the public sector to the private industry to research and academia.

We import most of the chemicals we need and use, also older near-end-of-life electrical and electronic gadgets are imported into our country, he added.

He said compounding these issues was the limited capacity for training, awareness creation and education on the sound management of chemicals and waste in poorer and vulnerable populations.

He said these and other emerging issues happen because the country’s growing economy did not have internal controls and external surveillance systems.

Prof Frimpong-Boateng said: Our peasant farmers and other end-users of chemicals, most of the time, ignore the use of appropriate personal protective equipment and fails to observe instructions for the use as prescribed on the label.

The Minister said the emergence of cancers and other diseases, which were hitherto foreign to the societies, were mainly due to lack of awareness and education on handling and safe use of chemicals and pesticides.

He said the use of traditional or indigenous knowledge was important in the development and promotion of the concept of sustainable chemistry.

Ms Cornelia Leuschner, Representative of the Ministry of Environment, Nature Protection, Construction and Nuclear Safety, Germany said the workshop was intended to support key stakeholders in Ghana in raising awareness of the concept of sustainable chemistry and identify best practices.

She said Germany and Ghana were already important partners in international chemicals management and sustainable chemistry activities and would continue this good cooperation.

We need to conserve our natural resources and biodiversity, secure our energy supply and combat climate change, she added.

She said they needed sustainable chemistry that connected ambitious environmental and health protection with economic and social development.

She said Ghana had made much progress in capacity building, for instance setting up a National Pesticides Quality Control Laboratory and we welcome this commitment and will like to discuss a cooperation on this and other projects as part of our future activities.

Professor Ebenezer Oduro Owusu, Vice-Chancellor, University of Ghana called for the establishment of a chemical fund for the EPA to enable the authority task chemical importers, producers and also use for research.

He urged the Minister of Environment to use his office to push for the establishment of the fund.

We must look at the contamination of our water bodies, leading to the loss of aquatic lives in the process, he said.

Source: Ghana News Agency