Indiscriminate smoke pollution leaves us exposed to Covid-19 – Steel Workers at Tema Free Zones lament

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Some factory workers at Tema are worried about their health as they say heavy smoke pollution at the steel enclave of the Tema Free Zones is affecting their respiratory system.

The workers, most of whom are with MND Metals Co Ltd told Joy Business that their health has not been the same since they started working for the company.

One of them, Kojo (to his real name), narrated how he “visited the hospital frequently since starting this job”.

Another worker also claimed that he has been “coughing blood” and “feeling weak” after hours of working in the polluted environment.

“We need the EPA to intervene, we are dying of smoke. Our health is failing,” Fred, a worker dealing in scraps lamented.

Recent photos and videos taken at the scene showed smoke engulfing the area so badly that one could barely anything around. Some workers were seen wearing nose masks to ease the density of smoke being inhaled.

The EPA in February this year, partially shut down the operation of a plant belonging to United Steel until the company fixed its pollution control system.

Deputy Executive Director of the EPA, Ebenezer K. Appah-Sampong told Joy Business that no extension of the deadline will be considered after three failed attempts to get the issue fixed.

“United Steel asked for an extension of two weeks after the January 31 deadline. But we at the EPA can’t give such an extension. We have come to inspect the premise and even though progress has been made, pollution is still rife.

“To this end, we are directing that the production line of United Steel be shut down until the pollution control system is fixed. Failure to comply will result in severe repercussions,” he stated.

So far, MND Metals Co Ltd has lost $800,000 to the 2-year long menace of pollution at the Tema Free Zones Enclave.

Managing director of the company, Mahmoud El-Kurdi, told Joy Business, despite various interventions by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) to clamp down on steel factories – Rider Steel and United Steel – over breaches in air regulations the pollution has not ceased.

“As investors and dealers in metal waste management, our contribution to Ghana’s metal waste management is stalled, especially when doing business at the Tema Free Zones Enclave amid the unregulated smoke pollution. It has left us at a loss of $800,000 so far.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has told Joy Business it is beefing up surveillance at United Steel and Rider Steel after some pictures and videos cited showed the emission of smoke in contravention of its directive and air regulations.

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