14:09, 19.Sep 2016
The Chamber of Petroleum Consumers-Ghana says it intends petitioning the Petroleum Ministry to mount pressure on the government to revise the standard of fuels imported into the country.
Executive Secretary for COPEC-GH, Duncan Amoah, who spoke with ClassFMonline.com in an interview on Monday September 19, said: “Latest by Thursday September 19, we hope to be at the Ministry to compel authorities to raise the standards due to the vehicle damage and health challenges posed by the ‘dirty fuels’.”
A three-year research project by Swiss NGO Public Eye revealed that importation of extremely harmful diesel into the country was on the rise.
According to the Public Eye report, which cited African nations as being the most receivers of these dangerous fuels, major European oil companies and commodity traders were exploiting Ghana’s particularly weak fuel standards to export the high-polluting fuels that they could never sell at the pumps in Europe.
Gian Valentino Viradez, Project Manager in charge of Development Policy at Public Eye, who presented the report at a forum in Accra on Thursday September 15, said the practice had damaging effects.
According to him, these fuels contained “nitrogen oxide, sulphur dioxide, and all kinds of pollutants that are known to be very bad for health”.
Mr Viradez added: “They cause chronic diseases and many other conditions such as lung cancer and this has to be taken seriously. We believe Africans have the right to know what they are consuming when they go to the pumps.”
On the back of this report, COPEC-GH is collaborating with the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) to get industry players to put pressure on government to introduce a directive preventing the importation of such fuels. They also aim to get the current standards reviewed to ensure that only cleaner fuels were used in the country.
“We want the halt of any further imports as we protest against these poor standards that eventually destroy the environment, human health, and engines. Our dedicated legal team is currently set to work in exploring possible action against authorities for this apparent neglect of public safety and poor standards”.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 7 million people die prematurely every year due to air pollution; about half of this is due to outdoor air pollution in Africa.
COPEC-GH has revealed that it is working to get the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), Ghana Private Roads Transport Union (GPRTU), Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU), Ghana Chamber of Mines, the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER), and the parliamentary Select Committee on Mines and Energy on board to compel the Petroleum Ministry to act without delay.