Harmattan: Use pollution masks, reduce outdoor activities – EPA warns

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has warned against outdoor activities to prevent health risks associated with the current dry season which contains highly polluted dust.

According to the EPA, the dust is being transported by low-level strong winds into the country hence the very dry and dusty weather being experienced over the northern, transition zones and part of the south.

A statement by the EPA disclosed that the pollutant levels (PM2.5) exceeded the national limit and the World Health Organisation (WHO) interim target 3 values of 35 and 25ptg/m3 respectively and encouraged the use of pollution masks (nose masks, goggles for eye protection) or use air purifiers.

“The air quality index recorded at the EPA’s Monitoring Site located at the University of Ghana between February 1-19, 2023 was largely moderate except for February 15-16 when it increased to unhealthy for sensitive groups and then unhealthy to very unhealthy between February 17-19.

“High particulate levels may cause irritation of the eyes, nose and throat and vulnerable groups such as people with asthma, lung disease, older adults, children and pregnant women are considered at greater risk.

“The Environmental Protection Agency wish to entreat vulnerable groups to reduce outdoor activities where necessary, especially the elderly, children, pregnant women, people with asthma and related allergies and any other persons with underlying health conditions.

“Additionally, the general public is advised to take all necessary precautionary measures such as:

• The use of pollution mask (nose masks, goggles for eye protection) or use air purifiers if available

• reduce outdoor activities including physical exercise

• Desist from open burning of waste and other materials

“The public is hereby informed that the Agency will continue to collaborate with relevant institutions, GHS, GMA, DVLA and GSA and monitor the situation for updates on our website and social media handles.”