Ghana must be more aggressive in measuring air quality – Scientist

Ghana must be more aggres­sive in measuring its air quality to reduce harmful pollution in the ecosystem and build a healthier population, Canada-based Ghanaian Scientist, Dr Charles Odame-Ankrah, has advised.

According to him, an efficient air monitoring system was even more crucial as the country moved towards industrialisation and tackles climate change impact.

The Air Quality Research Scientist was speaking to the Ghanaian Times on the back of his receipt of a US patent for inventing a device that detects the levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a common pollutant, in the air.

The “Photolytic Converter” tech­nology breaks down and measures accurately, the amount of NO2 in the airspace to inform policy decisions that helps build a healthier society and fight global warming.

Nitrogen dioxide gas produced by cars, industries and other combustibles could increase the risk of chronic respi­ratory diseases within a population and damage the environment.

“We must move aggressively towards proper monitoring. We must know our green zones, monitor pollutant areas and take steps to control harmful emissions in the air so we can avoid the mistakes of the West as we seek to in­dustrialise,” Dr Odame-Ankrah, urged.

He said, air quality was not only important for maintaining good health but could also help resolve the high unemployment crisis facing Ghana.

“Ghana has the opportunity to use air quality to not only make its air better and build a cleaner society but to create jobs for the teeming unemployed youth,” he stated.

The Research Scientist, called on government to begin to diversify career opportunities for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education in the country.

“We need to create clear career paths for people who pursue STEM to function. It’s almost as if, if you studied science you either end up becoming a nurse or a doctor because there are no avenues for those in other fields to thrive.

This is dangerous for a country that is seeking to develop because we train the people and they leave for other countries to pursue their careers because they are made redundant here,” he noted.

Dr Odame-Ankrah made the case for investment into scientific research to drive new discoveries and technologies that could help develop the nation.

“These monitoring stations for instance, could help scientists, research­ers, government officials, and the public understand data in real-time, as we work together to identify and mitigate sources of harmful air pollution.

Air pollution, just like the climate crisis, threatens our health and our prosperity,” he said.


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