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Commissioning the lab, the Executive Director of  EPA, Mr Daniel Amlalo, said the Agency was mandated by the EPA Act,  1994 (Act 490) to prescribe standards and guidelines relating to the pollution of air, water, land and noise, amongst others.

Mr Amlalo noted that over the years, the agency had developed sector-specific environmental quality guidelines for reducing emissions and discharging toxic wastes and substances into the environment.

In addition, he said, the agency was in collaboration with the Ghana Standards Authority and the Attorney-General’s Department working to transform these guidelines into standards.

He disclosed that to ensure a consistent and effective implementation of these standards, the Agency decided to refurbish the laboratory infrastructure at the Head office to provide quality-assured technical and analytical support services and to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the laboratory operations and services in order to meet the needs of the country.

The Executive Director announced that the Agency had also invested in the upgrade of the technical skills of lab technicians, adding that these interventions were to enhance staff analytical and scientific determination of the level of pollutants in the air, water, soil and other biological media as well as promote the development of a comprehensive environmental quality database to guide policy formulation.

Mr Amlalo added that EPA was going through a transformation to enhance its performance, relevance and impact as it prepared to wean off government subvention. ‘

This, he said, would involve the introduction of measures to commercialise aspects of the Agency’s laboratory services.

He assured Ghanaians that commercialisation would not affect the company’s responsibilities towards the protection of the environment and public health.

For his part, the chairman of the EPA Management Board, Professor Vincent Nartey, noted that improved technical and institutional capacity was critical to sustainable development and should engage the interest of all stakeholders.

Prof. Nartey said the Agency’s efforts towards the improvement in its technical capacity deserved commendation.

He said notwithstanding the structure and equipment, the key element that would bring about the desired improvement in environmental quality monitoring was the capacity and commitment of staff.

He asked management to put the facility into effective use since it was the type of laboratory that was well-equipped to undertake analyses of all environmental samples that would enhance environmental quality monitoring.

Some of the new equipment for the Laboratory were High volume sample, Mini Volume for Particulate Matter, Indoor Air Quality Monitor for PM, VOCs.O3, SO2,etc, Real Time Ambient Air Quality, Mercury Gas Analyser, Fuel Gas Analyser for SO2, CO2 and NO2, Exhaust Smoke  Analyser and Sound Level Mete, amongst others.

Source: ISD (Tally Ansah Asiedu)