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16.12.2004 General News

Chamber presents guidelines on hazardous materials

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Accra, Dec 16, GNA- The Ghana Chamber of Mines on Thursday presented its documented guidelines aimed at minimising risk and also encouraging self-review process of stakeholders in the transportation of hazardous materials to mining areas, to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Accra.

The document provides detailed information on the various stages in the cycle of transportation, from packing of hazardous goods at point of manufacture through to unloading at the mining areas.

The manual outlined emergency response procedures, minimum standards and training requirements for emergency response teams such as drivers, fire officers, security agencies, suppliers and carriers in line with international best practices.

Ms Joyce Aryee, Chief Executive Officer, Ghana Chamber of Mines presenting the document said almost all human activities affected the environment negatively and that there should be unending efforts to correct the imbalances.

"We must blaze the trail to guide the transportation of hazardous materials to minimize spillage of chemicals that have adverse effect on health and the environment."

She said the guidelines were prepared after consultations with stakeholders in the mining industry and environmental experts, adding that effective monitoring and evaluation could be carried out to minimise the danger posed by the use of hazardous materials in the industry.

The guidelines could be fine-tuned after it had been operated for a period for defects in it to be rectified for life to continue.

Mr Jonathan Allotey, Executive Director, EPA receiving the guidelines, said there were spillages of cyanide and hydrogen peroxide in some mining areas and these created panic and fear among the people and that if people were not taught how to react such situations, lives would be lost.

He said to rigidly enforce environmental laws "life would even come to a standstill."

It was necessary that efforts should be made to ensure that the environment was protected from "flagrant abuse", he said. Mr Martin Hiles and Mr William Usmar, Directors at the Chamber of Mines took the press through the guidelines. 16 Dec 04

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