More than one million vehicles of all types were imported into the country from 2005 to 2016, a data obtained from the Ghana Revenue Authority, Customs Division has revealed.
Of this fleet, 80 per cent were second-hand vehicles, with obsolete technology whose carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) and fuel consumption might no longer be in compliance with the manufactures standards imposed in developed countries, and therefore, a threat to Ghana’s environment.
These vehicles, which are the mainstay of Ghana’s transport sector, are said to consume more than half of the total oil import and production of the nation and releases virtually a quarter of CO2 emissions in the atmosphere.
Road Transport also contribute to ambient air pollution
Research has shown that air pollution facilitate respiratory and cardiovascular health problems.
Due to these factors, Ghana through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in collaboration with the UN Environment and other partner agencies, and Ministries of Transport, and Energy, and the Drivers and Vehicle Licensing Authority have undertaken an inventory on the vehicular fleet and inspection evolutions in Ghana from 2005 to 2016 to inform policy options for fuel economy.
The EPA has, therefore, held a day’s stakeholders’ workshop at Amasaman, near Accra, to disseminate the report on vehicle fuel economy policy options for Ghana and explore policy options on vehicle fuel efficiency, and also share experiences and best practices on fuel economy standards in the country and in Africa.
The workshop was also meant to share policy strategies for implementing fuel economy standards in Ghana.
Addressing the participants, Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation whose speech was read on his behalf, said, the International Energy Agency had revealed that the world-wide transport sector accounts for about 50 per cent of world energy consumption while transport consumes 25 per cent of the world’s energy with 90 per cent for fossil fuels.
He said the transport sector was also known to have the fastest growth rate of Greenhouse House emissions (GHG), which was about 2.5 per cent per year until 2020.
He said the share of global energy consumption and the consequent GHG and air pollutant emissions was expected to continue to increase over the next decade, and the increase was explained by the growing demand for vehicles and the prosperity of emerging markets.
“Indeed, total new vehicle sales estimated at 88 million units in 2014 (OICA, 2014), of which about 65 million are light vehicles, are expected to increase to 107 million by 2020 (Economist, 2013), he said.
Prof Frimpong-Boateng said Ghana as part of the global world, has a road transport sector that was a major contributor to GHG emissions and air pollution in the urban areas.
He noted that the widespread of vehicles in the country also had a real environmental and economic cost and represents an important threat to the economic security of the nation.
Therefore, the Government had taken bold steps to phase out lead in fuels in 2003 and implemented Mass Transport system in the urban areas in a bid to reduce the number of vehicles that plied the road and polluted the atmosphere.
He said the Ministry of Environment through the EPA have been conducting Air Quality Monitoring in residential, commercial, industrial and roadside locations in Accra since 2005, and data collected over the years was currently being used as input into the development of vehicular emission standards and regulations.
Prof Frimpong-Boateng announced that as part of efforts to improve fuel quality and transport emissions which were associated with environmental and public health consequences, the Ministry under the Global Fuel Economy Initiative and ECOWAS low Sulphur Fuel Initiative, collaborated with the Ministry of Energy to reduced sulphur standards of diesel and petrol fuels from 3000ppm and 1000ppm respectively to 50ppm since September 1, 2017.
He said aside these programmes, it would be more expedient to increase the momentum of lowering the volume of fuel consumed that have direct impact on fuel prices which was used as a major bargaining power by most transport organisation.
He said that would help reduce the increasing pressure on national budget and free-up fiscal space for other sectors of the economy.
He, therefore, gave the assurance that the Ministry was vying for further prudent policy interventions to reduce fuel consumption for commuting and make economic savings to citizens and government among others.
“A major intervention that could go a long way to remedy the situation may involve the introduction of policies for fuel economy standards in Ghana,” he said.
He thanked the UN Environment for partnering Ghana, under the sustainable transport programme to develop policies on fuel economy standards for the country.