THE IMPORTANCE OF AIRPORT ZONING: A REFLECTION ON THE PLANE CRASH
Today I want to discuss the airplane crash which just occurred in Ghana a few hours ago. The Nigerian based Allied Air plane had difficult taking off, and killed at least 10 people, the number of deceased people has not been finalized. Ghana is a wonderfully country, yes. But Ghanaians, and the people of Ghana have been dying unnecessarily for DECADES, usually as a result of Road accidents. Now there is a plane accident. The plane accident needs to be discussed in depth and not just superficially. A plane had difficulties taking off in Ghana and killed several people. There are several questions to ask , such as :
1.Why did it have problems ? Was the plane too heavy? Who checked the weight of the cargo plane and was it recorded accurately?
2. What goods were contained on the plane. Did the contents of the goods have something to do with the plane crashing?
But more importantly, the main thing that needs to be discussed is Urban Planning. Yes, Urban Planning. Although I am known for my discussions about Ghana music, I would like to talk about Urban Planning, because I actually have a university degree in Urban Planning.
Urban Planning and the Kotoka Airport:
When you google map the KOTOKA Airport, there is something very striking—the fact that there is too much development around the Kotoka Airport.WHY? Who has allowed all of this development to occur?
FACT: do you know that in foreign countries, when an airport is built, there is something called the AIRPORT /RUNWAY CLEARING ZONE What is an airport clearing zone? A clearing zone is created around an airport. In the airport clearing zone, these are the areas that are most likely to experience a plane crash as the plane lands and takes off. In the clearing zone, you have what is called a BUFFER. A BUFFER is an area of trees and bushes. The airport buffer is made up of acres and lands surrounding the airport so that if a plane crashes, it will not kill people in their homes. It will only affect the people on the plane.
HEIGHT AND USE RESTRICTIONS:
In an airport clearing zone/runway protection zone, certain uses and certain heights of buildings are restricted. Buildings can not be a certain height in the protection zone. Accra is booming and many tall building are being erected. The next time you are in Accra, ask yourself,” isn't this building too tall to be located so close to the airport?”.
Uses—in an airport zone, certain uses are prohibited. Schools and other recreational type uses are prohibited. Schools and public places are prohibited from being placed in airport protection zones because they attract large groups of people ,which can be dangerous if a plane were to crash and burn after takeoff. Google “KOTOKOA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT”, click on “photos/satellite” and tell me what you see. If you are unable to do it, let me describe what is there. When you look at a satellite picture of Kotoka International airport, you see many things:
1. You will notice that at the lower end of the Kotoka Airport plot,
near El-wak, there is not that much distance between the runway and residential areas. Not only that, but there are SEVERAL SCHOOLS located SO CLOSE TO THE AIRPORT. There are too many schools near the airport. Why? This is so dangerous. The map shows the School of Ordinance Military Academy, West African Exam Centre, Mothercare School, and Police A&B Primary School. These schools and the El-Wak stadium are WAY too close to the airport.This should never have been allowed. They are clearly in the airport protection zone. If a plane has problems taking off/landing , it will definitely crash around such areas—the school areas.
Why should schools and public places not be allowed so close to airports? Due to what happened at Kotoka.There needs to be a buffer /a protection zone to clear room for any accidents that may or could happen. Where is the buffer zone at the Kotoka Airport—there does not seem to be one. Also, the buffer zone is for noise. The decibels increase as a plane is nearing its final destination.The noise intensifies, therefore it is important, once again, to have a buffer, to reduce the impact of noise on nearby residences. This is why residences should also be restricted from building in certain areas around airports. This is also why in most airports around the world, they are surrounded by commercial, and not residential uses.
Many airports throughout the WORLD have runway protection/buffer zones.Yet, Ghana seems to be lacking one.Why is that? No matter how much a country is 'booming', everyone's life is at risk if the country does not enforce their airport zone regulations. No schools, tall buildings, anything relevant should be in the protection zone. It is in this zone, that the country has to prohibit residential and civic use.
Look at this document. It describes the importance of runway protection zones:
It is quite sad that innocent lives were lost but I hope that the assembly men will sit down and reexamine the ways in which the airport may be a safer place and neighbor for all living around it.