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As part of activities to mark the 2019 Ozone Day celebrations in Ghana, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Thursday, October 10, 2019 held a public sensitization and education forum for High School students in the Upper West Region.

Hundreds of students from various second-cycle institutions in the region including the Wa Islamic Senior High and the Wa Senior High/Technical schools gathered at the Wa Senior High School where lectures on the Ozone Layer were delivered by officers from the Ozone and Climate Change unit of the Environmental Protection Agency. The students were educated on human activities that cause the depletion of the ozone layer. The topics discussed included “the Science of Ozone Layer Depletion Phenomenon and its Effects on Humankind”; “Climate Change, Effects and Linkages with Ozone Depletion” and the “Dos and Don’ts in Refrigeration”.

Speaking to the media at the sideline of the programme, the Head of the Energy Resources, Climate Change and Ozone Department of the EPA, Mr. Emmanuel Osae-Quansah said the students were targeted because they have the ability to pass on the education to their families, friends and community members about issues relating to the ozone layer. He however said students were not the only target group for this year’s celebrations as refrigeration technicians, cold store operators and other businesses which use Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) are educated on best practices to avoid the depletion of the ozone layer.

Emmanuel Osae-Quansah, Head of the Energy Resources, Ozone and Climate Change Dept

Mr. Osae-Quansah also recounted some of the successes chalked over the years in the protection of the ozone layer. According to him Ghana “has made enormous impact [in the fight to protect the ozone]”. He disclosed that, CFC11 which was used by the foam factories to blow the foams has been phased out and replaced by methylene chloride. “We have also phased out the use of methyl bromide in the country [as a fumigation chemical for soil treatment]. We have phased out carbon tetra chloride”, he added. The Head at the Ozone and Climate change unit said the focus of his department and agency is now to see to the elimination of hydro-chlorofluorocarbons which are used in air-conditioning system.

On challenges confronting the campaign in protecting the ozone layer, Mr. Osae-Quansah noted the major challenge is the resistance to change by some industry players. He was however optimistic that this challenge will be surmounted to achieve the needed results.

Regional Director, EPA

Delivering the keynote address on behalf of the Upper West regional director of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Programmes Officer at the regional office, Anastasia Comfort Blankson, called on the students, the media and other participants at the programme to propagate the message on the need to protect the ozone layer. Madam Blankson said “we must keep up the momentum to ensure healthy people and healthy planet”.

Anastasia Comfort Blankson, Programmes Officer at EPA, UW/R

The World Ozone Day is observed on the 16th of September every year. Ghana as a member of the Montreal Protocol joins the rest of the world every year to celebrate this day by creating awareness on the adverse impacts of the ozone layer depletion. This year’s Ozone Day is being celebrated on the theme “32 Years and Healing”. It is the first time ever that the National Ozone Day celebration is taking place in the Upper West region.