Energy policy think tank, Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) has told Citi Business News thousands of Ghanaians lose their lives every year because they inhale fumes from dirty diesel.
ACEP’s Deputy Executive Director, Benjamin Boakye says ‘people are dying because we import this dirty fuel. World Bank estimates that 17, 500 people die annually in Ghana because of air pollution and dirty diesel contributes significantly to this number’.
ACEP in partnership with Swiss NGO, Public Eye, recently revealed that Swiss commodity trading firms are exploiting lax regulatory standards to sell dirty diesel to African consumers.
The report which surveyed eight African countries including Ghana, indicated that the sulphur content of diesel samples in such countries was more than 300 times compared to that of Europe, US and Kenya in Africa which has 50 parts per million (ppm).
The report also cited the alarming health implications from air pollution.
For instance, the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) estimates that by 2030, Africa will have three times as many deaths from traffic-related particle dust than Europe, Japan, and the US combined.
But the National Petroleum Authority, which regulates the industry has denied the allegation.
The authority’s CEO Moses Asaga told Citi Business News “It is a blatant exaggeration to say that millions of people are being affected by that. We have sought permission from the EPA and that the emission test of Ghanaian vehicles which use diesel has so far been considered to be in the acceptable range. I think that all the comments are from a point of ignorance. I’d rather that the agencies particularly ACEP consulted the Authority to know the details on how the market entails before coming out with the conclusion,” Moses Asaga remarked in an interview with Citi Business News.
Moses Asaga explains Ghana’s standard of 3000 ppm falls within the regional margin quoted by countries like Nigeria and Ivory Coast.
He however added, a significant reduction in the sulphur content will cost Ghana about 300 million dollars. “Our refinery in Ghana has been producing 1000 parts per million; as such if we want to decrease to 50 parts per million, that will imply the whole refinery will have to be re-configurated which may need a capital cost of between 200 to 300 million dollars.”
But the Deputy Executive Director of ACEP Benjamin Boakye in an interview with Citi Business News, at the sidelines of the launch of the Africa Oil Governance Summit in Accra today- Monday said the situation must be resolved to prevent further damage.
‘People are dying because we import this dirty fuel. World Bank estimates that 17, 500 people die annually in Ghana because of air pollution and dirty diesel contributes significantly to this number.
If you look at the growth in the fleet of cars in Ghana, the numbers have increased significantly, between 2005 and 2015 the numbers doubled, so it tells you that pollution has also doubled and we must check this’.