Some workers at the Tema Free zone enclave are calling for the shut down of United Steel and Rider Steel companies accusing them of heavily polluting the environment posing health risks to all working in the area.
According to the Spokesperson of the Adams Aikins in an interview with JoyNews said their efforts to draw the attention of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the issue has proved abortive hence petitioning the Minister of Environment, Science, and Innovation for intervention.
Mr. Adams Aikins said in the petition sighted by Awake News alleged that last 2years, one of their colleagues died as a result of the heavy pollution.
Read portions of the petition:
“We, first of all, acknowledge the effort you have put in place to address the issue but strongly feel there is the urgent need to once again draw your attention to these issues as our lives are threatened with the continuous indiscriminate discharge of toxic smoke but the United Steel and Rider Steel:
1. That for the past 3years or so United Steel Company and Rider Steel Company have been discharging very heavy, tick and unpleasant smoke during the operation of their machines
2. That the smoke emanates from other parts of the factories rather than the chimney making the smoke to spread in the area and blocking visibility
3. The smoke has an unpleasant smell making it very difficult for breathing when one comes into contact with it. As a result, we are suffering from various respiratory ailments, and attached are our medical reports.
4. That one of our colleagues died last year from a smoke infection according to a doctor’s report
5. We have made several attempts to draw the attention of the Environmental Protection Agency both at Tema and the Head office in Accra; Ghana Free Zones Authority, Environmental Health, and Safety but the situation continues to worsen.
6. There have been several media reports also on the issues and drawing the attention of your good office to the situation while some experts warn if the situation as the company was not resolved could lead to the explosion of the company furnaces (see this report – awakenewsroom.com/heavy-air-pollution-at-tema-free-zone-one-dead-other-workers-at-risk/) but the situation remains the same.
7. That on August 25, 2020, indeed one of the furnaces of the United Steel Company exploded injuring about 9 people in the factory.
8. On September 18, 2020, there were several media reports on CitiNewsroom.com, ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/business/Over-400-United-Steel-workers-laid-off-after-shutdown-1063741, ModernGhana.com, and several radio stations including Byt FM suggesting that the Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency, Dr. Henry Kokofu upon his unannounced visit to the Free Zone Enclave shut down United Steel Company Ltd which has led to the loss of jobs of over 400 workers at the United Steel Company Ltd.
9. We received this media report as shocking and misleading as the said company was still and is still in operation.
10. On September 20, 2020, we sighted another news report on awakenewsroom.com/united-steel-company-not-shutdown-workers-still-at-post/ which suggested that the United Steel Company has not shut down as earlier reported by other media houses. Indeed, at the time that this portal made this report, the company was in operation and still in operation. In the said publication also, the media house published three letters dated August 6, and August 12, 2020 suggesting the EPA had ordered the company to shut down. However, this directive to our best of knowledge was never enforced.
11. That we wish to draw your attention again that the company is still in operation and now resorted to working at night and discharging the same level of toxic smoke.
12. We, therefore, feel the authorities and the said companies are not taking our lives into considerations in the issues hence our decision to petition your high office again.
13. We will have no option than to advise ourselves if the situation continues.”
By: Efo Korsi Senyo / awakenewsroom.com