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Lives In Danger - As More Fuel Filling Stations Spring Up In Residential Areas   
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In spite of the growing public concern over the siting of fuel dispensing stations, popularly called filling stations, in residential areas, the menace is continuing at an alarming rate in cities across the country.

Residents of several communities in Accra say it is about time the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) and the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) took immediate actions to avert any impending disaster and save lives.

On the Circle-Achimota Highway alone, three filling stations are located very close to fitting shops, houses and chop bars.

A number of fuelling stations on the Abeka-Kwashieman stretch of the N1 Highway are sited in the middle of shopping centres and close to homes.

On the Kwashieman-Santa Maria road, filling stations are sited very close to houses, drinking spots and a church.

Residents of Madina Estate, a suburb of Accra, are battling owners of a filling station situated between a wall separating two plots of land, each comprising six houses.

According to the residents, they are living in constant fear as the filling station threatens their lives.

They alleged that people in high places were behind the project and have circumvented the law to site the fuel station there.

Speaking to The Finder, a resident, Mr Aaron Martey, who spoke on behalf of the residents, said in the later part of 2012, one of their neighbours sold his house.

According to him, the buyer demolished the house and built a filling station.

He said in 2013, the residents lodged a formal complaint with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) and the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) objecting to the construction of the facility there.

Mr Martey stated that the residents also complained to the Member of Parliament for Madina, Alhaji Amadu Sorogho, and a ‘Stop Work’ notice was issued to the owners of the filling station.

He said the MP, who at the time was the chairman of the Fire Service Council, promised to do everything in his power to make sure that the filling station was not operational.

Mr Martey said despite all the assurances, construction works continued and the residents notified the NPA, EPA and the MP but to no avail.

Mr Martey said the residents then resorted to legal action, but their lawyers had to abandon the case, and told the residents that the case could not be prosecuted because influential people were behind the fuel filling station.

He stated that the filling station was opened for business this year, subjecting residents to various health hazards.

Even though there is a guideline that regulates the siting of such services, violation of the regulations by fuel and LPG station owners exposes the public to danger.

Apart from explosions, other identified risks associated with the installation and operation of filling station in residential areas include air pollution, threats to occupational and public health safety, and land degradation.
Source: The Finder

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