The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a permit for the construction and operation of a fuel station near the Family Health Hospital at Teshie in spite of objections by the management of the health facility and the Ghana Health Service (GHS) for health reasons.
The AI Energy Group, a licensed oil marketing company with a Logistics and Support Service Subsidiary rendering services to clients across the country, had discussed their intention to establish a bank, restaurant and fuel service station near the Family Health Hospital at Teshie and requested for the health facility’s consent.
The management of the health facility replied that although the project would add to the economic benefits of the people of the community, it had serious concerns in relation to the fuel service station the AI Group wanted to provide to the health facility.
It noted that living near a fuel station could be a health hazard; not only to patients and staff of the hospital but also to the in-vitro fertilisation (test tube babies), and urged the group to reconsider its decision.
The management of the health facility also notified the Ministry of Health about the intention of the management of the AI Group to site a fuel service station near the facility, and requested the ministry to also provide the AI Group and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reasons why it was not advisable to site the fuel station near a health facility.
The EPA had earlier requested the medical director of the Family Health Hospital Limited to provide an Environmental Impact Assessment for siting a filling station near a hospital facility in Teshie, a suburb of Accra.
The request was necessitated by a petition from the management of the hospital against the siting of the fuel station near the health facility.
Patrons of the health facility (with a 24-bed in-patient ward, consulting rooms for outpatients, theatre for surgical operations, laboratories, among others) risked contracting severe acute and chronic respiratory distress syndrome, increase in the incidence of cancers, fire hazards among other threats.
The decision to issue the permit, the EPA explained, was due to the failure of the management of the health facility to outline their environmental concerns as was agreed upon at a meeting on the proposed construction and operation of the fuel station.
An Environment Impact Assessment of a proposed fuel service station at Teshie signed by Dr Gloria Quansah Asare, Acting Director General, Ghana Health Service, cited by the Daily Graphic, warned against the siting of the fuel station near the hospital, citing health risks.
According to the report, “evidence from the literature regarding risks from exposure to such a facility points to an increased risk of Leukaemia (blood cancer), Hodgkin’s lymphoma, fetal malformations and premature births.”
The report urged “all stakeholders to work in tandem to limit the environmental and other exposures that constitute risk factors to their occurrence, as articulated in the Libreville Declaration 2008 which our two sectors have adopted with the formation of the Health and Environmental Strategic Alliance (HESA) in 2012.”
The report said the health sector was seeking broader partnership with the private sector in meeting the health needs of Ghanaians.
It said as the main health facility located between La and Tema General Hospitals, the Family Health Hospital, which provided a wide range of services, was making an immense contribution by complementing the government’s efforts at serving the needs of a large proportion of persons living on the eastern side of Accra.
But a letter signed on behalf of the Executive Director of the EPA by Mr Ebenezer Appah-Sarpong, a director, accused the hospital authorities of not responding to the issues raised in an earlier correspondence which required the hospital to outline its environmental concerns which should have reached the agency within one week from the receipt of that letter.
In a different letter jointly signed by Mr Ben Koney, Project Coordinator, and Ms Abigail A. Harlley, Chief Executive Officer of the AI Energy Group Limited, owners of the Filling station, they said: “AI Energy Group is a duly licensed Oil Marketing Company with a Logistics and Support Service Subsidiary rendering services to clients across the entire country.
According to the letter, “the said parcel of land is not within the perimeter of your land hoping that “our existence would not prove any discomfort to your operations whatsoever.
Source: Daily Graphic/Ghana
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