The repugnant odour that has engulfed Apemenin in the Ahanta West District of the Western Region, is not dangerous to human health, the Ghana Rubber Estate Limited (GREL) has maintained.
Residents in and around the area, including Agona Nkwanta, have for years complained about the foul odour from the factory which is sited at Apemenin, fearing a possible health hazard.
Earlier this year, some of the residents demonstrated against the company claiming GREL has been polluting the environment, but the company has denied the claims of the residents.Safety, Health and Environmental officer for GREL, Akwasi Apau Boakye, told Takoradi-based Connect FM that though the foul scent that emanates from their factory is a nuisance, it is not hazardous to health.
He maintained that scent is not something that could cause illness though it makes people uncomfortable.
“I can say on authority that the scent that is emanating from the factory does not have health implications just that it is uncomfortable for people, it is a nuisance that is all,” he assured the residents.
Mr Boakye said the situation in other areas where rubber production takes place is no different from what pertains at Apemenin, noting that “If you know a lot about rubber factory, this is something that is normal. If you go to other countries you will realize it is not dangerous”.
Notwithstanding, he said management of the company recognizing the situation has even resolved to site the second factory of GREL within its plantations to prevent the repugnant odour from getting to the communities around.
“…there are trees there so we are hoping people will not come and make this complaint,” he said.
Mr. Boakye insisted that GREL has been following all safety and environmental measures as required by the Environmental Protection Agency, noting that effluent from the factory are regularly monitored to prevent pollution.
“Every month we pick samples for testing at lab,” he said, adding that they even go beyond that to pick water samples from the communities for laboratory testing to check for pollution and that “all the samples we’ve taken, there are no issues with that”.
He said the company has now expanded its capacity from five tonnes to 10 tonnes per hour and that they would have to do something about some of the effluent parametres, but said “as far as I’m concerned and from the records and from the analysis we’ve done, we are in line with everything”.
By Loveridge Ampratwum Okyere|Connect FM|3news.com|Ghana