EPA launches vehicle emissions programme

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Friday launched the motor emission programme, aim at reducing vehicle emissions, with its attendant diseases in the country. The EPA is undertaking the programme and establishing air quality standards to protect the health of the people. It is therefore collaborating with stakeholders to undertake the motor emission trial testing programme on the theme: �Clean Air for Healthy Life,� to ensure proper regulation of emissions in the country. The programme seeks to ensure that all motor vehicles and motorised equipment in the country and those imported are less pollutant or falls within acceptable emission standards. Motor emissions, particularly those from vehicles, are known to be one of the major contributors to air pollution in Ghana, with its attendant adverse health impacts on the lower and upper respiratory tract. Vehicle emissions, in the form of conventional pollutants and greenhouse gases, can have adverse impacts such as cardiopulmonary diseases, environmental damage and global warming. Mr Mahama Ayariga, Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, said at the launching that aside vehicular fumes make people to feel uncomfortable every day. He said the transport sector is one of the important sectors that heavily contribute to the effects of climate change, the single biggest challenge facing the world today. Mr Ayariga said records also indicate that many of the substances referred to as air pollutants, produce human health effects at high levels of exposure and that is why the sector Ministry through the EPA and other partners, is making efforts to control and reduce such emission pollution in the country. He said government is thus introducing the emission testing of vehicles to go beyond the existing inspection regime, which largely focuses on the examination of the physical conditions of vehicles. He explained that the sub-component on vehicular emissions forms part of the evolving capacity building programme of the EPA to ensure sound management of the environment and in part to respond to Ghana�s commitment under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Mr Ayariga stated that the programme forms part of the enforcement processes and that all must support the course to stop emissions of vehicles, polluting the environment. He said other areas like aviation (aircrafts) and marine (vessels) sectors would be tackled in reducing emissions from those sectors as well. �It will affect all of us so we expect the public support. We expect some may protest, some will appeal against it but if we all want to do something about it then we should support the EPA to enforce the standards,� he said. Mr Daniel Amlalo, Executive Director of EPA said, the month-long nation-wide trial testing programme would be conducted by the Apex Pollution Control Company Limited, which has acquired the test equipment with financial support from uniBank Ghana Limited , as well as other stakeholders like the Motor Traffic and Transport Department of the Ghana Police Service, and the Driver Vehicle Licensing Authority. The testing of vehicle for their emission levels would be done free of charge during the trial testing period which started just after the launching but subsequently fees would be charged as part of road worthy certification. The fees chargeable would be captured under the Fees and Charges Amendment Regulation of the EPA. The trial test would serve as a fore-runner for the soon to be introduced mandatory motor emission tests. Mr Amlalo explained that as part of the Road Worthy Certificate, vehicles would be tested for their emission levels before they are issued with Road Worthy Certificate. Professor Vincent Nartey, Board Chairman of EPA urged the public and stakeholders to work hard to reduce vehicle emissions that continue to reduce the quality of life of people in the country. The Transport and the Road and Highway Ministries, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation and other stakeholders all pledged their commitment towards helping reduce vehicular emissions in Ghana.