An expert in Air Quality Measurement, Dr. Charles Odame-Ankrah, has called for the implementation of a rigorous air monitoring scheme to ensure better health for people.
Speaking on the topic, “Air Quality and Health: Why we should worry” at a joint public lecture organised under the auspices of the Department of Population and Health and the Faculty of Social Sciences, Dr. Odame-Ankrah noted that air pollution was one of the causes of death in the world.
Dr. Odame-Ankrah said Ghana was experiencing rapid urbanisation and industrialisation, and therefore, efforts must be made to enforce laws on air pollution to save lives and improve life expectancy in the country.
Effect of Air Pollution
Dr. Odame-Ankrah who is an alumnus of the University stated that more than seven million people died from exposure to air pollution according to a World Health Organisation (WHO) report in 2014. He added that most victims were from middle and low-income countries in the world. He further indicated that “These areas where air pollution is prevalent and exceed the WHO’s air quality guidelines are developing countries and accounts for more than 85% of the world’s population.
In the contexts of the Global Burden of Disease in 2013, he indicated that air pollution levels and attributable health impacts were quantified for 188 countries for the period 1990-2013. According to him, there were 2.9 million deaths in 2013 caused by outdoor fine particulate air pollution and an additional 215,000 deaths from exposure to ozone. “Indoor exposure to household air pollution from the use of solid fuels for cooking and heating was responsible for 2.9 million deaths in 2013,” he added.
Dr. Odame-Ankrah indicated that the total deaths recorded in 2013 as a result of air pollution was 5.5 million deaths in 2013 and was the fourth highest-ranking risk factor for death in the world. “Outdoor particulate air pollution specifically was the seventh leading risk factor for death globally, with cardiovascular disease (ischemic heart disease and stroke) accounting for the majority of these deaths,” he mentioned.
The Air Quality expert noted that some of the reported cases of death from air pollution were from lung cancer, chronic diseases, and respiratory infections. “Of these 2.9 million deaths, 64% were in Asia, especially China and India,” he stressed.
Creating Jobs from Air Quality Measurements
Despite these disturbing statistics, Dr. Odame-Ankrah noted that the University could create substantial jobs through Air Quality Measurements and also ensure good health for citizens. With partnership with Global Analyzer Systems Limited in Canada, Dr. Odame-Ankrah said he had developed equipment using cutting edge technology capable of photo-dissociating Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) to Nitric oxide (NO) using LEDS.
Dr. Odame-Ankrah said he was ready to collaborate with the University to introduce the invention to create jobs and also address health issues associated with air pollution. He expressed gratitude to the University for giving him the opportunity to become a prominent person.
Dr. Odame-Ankrah was presented a citation for his contributions to the University including teaching two courses at the Department of Environmental Science for free and also donating books valued at $60,000.
The lecture was chaired by the Director of Research, Innovation, and Consultancy, Prof. Frederick Ato-Armah. Present was the Provost, College of Humanities and Legal Studies, Prof. Eric F. Amuquandoh, Head, Department of Population and Health, Dr. David Doku, some lecturers and students from the University.