Some steel factory workers within the Free Zone enclave in Tema are asking the Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, to shut down two other steel companies, Rider Steel and United Steel, for polluting the environment.
The workers, who embarked on a peaceful demonstration at the Free Zones enclave, allege that one of their colleagues died due to the toxic smoke emitted by the companies.
The workers say they’re dying slowly from poisonous fumes emitted by the two companies.
According to them, the Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, has not been successful in their attempts to shut down the companies.
They claim the toxic smoke released by the two steel factories, Ryder Steel and United Steel Companies, is not only polluting the atmosphere, but also threatens their health.
According to them, they literally spend all their salaries on treating smoke-related ailments.
“We have been suffocating. They have been suffocating us out of the toxic emissions from the smoke. We have done all we need to but still nothing has been done about it. So we are still fighting for the right thing to be done to save us from this pollution” one worker said.
Another worker said, “one of our staff died out of this smoke issue and the rest have been visiting the hospital regularly. We have kept on using the same salary in treating ourselves, and it has gotten to the point that we can’t even afford it”.
These protesters, who are workers of other steel companies within the Free Zones Enclave, say they usually wear nose masks to be able to go a their duties due to the toxic smoke.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, chimneys that release thick smoke are supposed to be 60 meters above ground level.
However, these two steel companies have their chimneys only 30 meters above the ground, causing severe air pollution.
These workers simply want government to shut down the two companies as their actions also constitute a violation of Ghana’s environmental laws.
While officials of the two companies are yet to comment about the complaints, it appears that beyond issuing directives that have not been adhered to, the Environmental Protection Agency cannot do much, considering that this is the second protest by these workers.