Global Warming is termed, the gradual average temperature of the earth’s atmosphere and its ocean, a change that is believed to be permanently changing the earth’s climate.
Globally, people are experiencing the heat or warmth of the earth and Ghana is no exception. Climate scientists speak of the fact that the globe is warming substantially and more rapidly at a temperature of 0.4 and 0.8 degree census over the past 10 decades.
Approximately, one third of the sunlight striking the earth and its atmosphere is reflected back into space and the rest is being absorbed by air, water, land and plants in a form known as Infrared radiation. This energy is radiated naturally back into space but the escape is altered by certain chemical substances like Methane (CH4), Nitrous Oxide (N2O), Sulfur Dioxide Gas and Fluorinated Gases as a result of human activities.
HOW DOES GHANA CONTRIBUTE TO GLOBAL WARMING?
A lot of activities by Ghanaians serve as contributing factors of Green House effects. An activity like burning of plastic waste and dumping of refuse emit gases that are not Ozone friendly. Most plastics contain chlorine, Carbon, Nitrogen, Hydrogen and Sulfur.
Ghanaians mostly do not recycle their plastic waste and other waste generated but burn them mostly at the back of their buildings or at the frontage in a dug pit. The gases that emanate from the burning of the plastic material escape into the atmosphere and prevent the energy escaping the earth to circulate and warm the earth. As a result, these gases give rise to many disease conditions like skin cancer, cancer of the lungs and other related conditions as a result of inhalation of such toxins.
Moreover, the use of insecticides, pesticides, and other chemicals to control pest and vectors cannot be exempted as far as Greenhouse gases are concerned. Malaria is now endemic in Ghana and the use of insecticide spray and coil can’t be left out. These insecticides contain active ingredients like permethrin and benzene which are gases released into the atmosphere during use.
Often, the majority of Ghanaian’s patronize electrical appliances and second hand cars, motor bikes and other combusting engines which is termed ‘home used’ items. These car (engines) release carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide which endangers the eco-system during combustion and hence aid in warming the earth inadvertently.
Ghana contributes to the warmth of the earth with the use of carbon and sulfur rich fossil fuels. Most of the ‘home used’ cars release most of such gases during combustion. The use of out-board motors by fishermen as well as generators and plants used by heavy industries all emit heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere.
DOES GLOBAL WARMING HAVE ANY HEALTH IMPLICATIONS? YES!
The earth becomes extremely warm and can persist for a long period of time hence making the globe very uncomfortable for living organisms. The prolonged heat created by the heat-trapping gases can cause drought, which can lead to fire outbreaks.
The rising nature of natural disaster that threatens human health and safety. This contribute to the change in precipitation patterns giving rise to extreme rain fall, flooding, rise in sea-levels which Ghana is experiencing and endangering the life of certain inhabitants of Ada, Accra among others.
Some other effects include poor air quality as a result of smog formation due to the combination of greenhouse gases and ground-ozone. Skin cancer, heat stroke, dehydration, respiratory and cerebrovascular infection and even death have become frequent in the country recently.
Many plants and animals especially food animals suffer the same fate as humans. This extreme heat hinders the growth and the rate at which they reproduce causing food shortages across the globe.
THE WAY FORWARD
It is imperative for Ghanaians to manage their liquid and solid waste efficiently and environmentally safely. There is the need for a modern engineered landfill site to trap the methane gases which is produced. Again, there is need to recycle domestic plastic waste instead of burning them at the backyards of residential buildings to reduce or prevent greenhouse gas emission.
Moreover to reduce the rate at which the use of insecticide can cause harm, it would be best if Ghana adapts to the use of underground drainage system or sewer line to minimize the use of insecticide as it lessens the rate at which mosquito breed rather than the open drains system. The free distribution of treated mosquito nets is laudable but there has been reported incidences of officials selling some encouraging certain people to stick to the use of mosquito sprays and coils.
The use of fossil fuel which is renewable, clean and efficient can reduce the rate at which greenhouse gases are released as a result of combustion. The use of sulfur free fuel can also limit the amount of carbon released using catalytic converters to trap the gases while the use of energy efficient technologies can all help safeguard the environment.