Improper storage of Ammonium Nitrate in the country by some companies operating in the Western Region is said to have become a grave national security threat than before.
The Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Mr Akwasi Opong-Fosu, who made the observation, blames the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the dangerous situation.
Mr Fosu says the situation has arisen because the EPA has overlooked standards regarding the storage of such unsafe substances.
He stresses that the EPA is mandated to ensure the environment is protected, and that companies in the country do not flout global regulations.
And “we believe that if EPA does it work properly, some companies will not be granted permit to operate in the country.”
Mr Opong-Fosu expressed the concern when he briefed journalists after undertaking a field trip to the sites of some companies at Prestea, Kajebil, Funko, and Amanfokuma, all in the Ahanta West District. Some of the companies are involved activities which make use of Ammonium Nitrate.
Stella Logistics, one of the companies, was particularly cited as a key culprit for storing Ammonium Nitrate on the bare floor instead of providing infrastructure with concrete platform for the storage.
Mr Opong-Fosu explained that Ammonia Nitrate contains very dangerous chemicals which are used by the mining companies, and also used in the manufacture of fertiliser and explosives.
The Minister has thus called for investigations into why the EPA has permitted such mode of storage to persist Western Region, breaching safety standards and posing danger to the environment.
The Managing Director of Greenline Logistics, Francis Anglow, associated himself with the Minster’s call for an investigation into why the EPA has allowed such a dangerous practice to happen under its watch.
Mr Anglow hinted that it was not only in the Western Region, but there were other companies outside the Region that were flouting the law on storage of such hazardous materials with impunity.
“I do believe that money is exchanging hands to the detriment of the citizenry because chemicals are being stored on bare floor which poses danger to the people, especially where there are water bodies around the area,” he said.
He believed that certain companies were able to obtain certificate to operate without the EPA going to their production sites to ascertain things for themselves.
Source : Public Agenda