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Regional News of Wednesday, 26 August 2020

Source: GNA

Furnace explosion in Tema injures nine

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A furnace explosion at the United Steel Company Limited on Monday, August 24 at the Freezone Enclave in Tema has injured nine persons and destroyed property belonging to MND Metals Company Limited.

The nine injured included; six Ghanaians and three Indians working in the company (United Steel Company); the impact also put workers in the neighboring company at risk.

Mr Mahmoud El Kurdi, Manager, MND Metals Company Limited, told the Ghana News Agency in an interview with the Company after the explosion.

He explained THAT one of the furnaces used by United Steel to melt scrap metals for its production exploded, at about 1810 hours and caused damage to the changing room of their workers among other property.

MND Metals Company Limited is situated just behind United Steel Company Limited.

The Manager said the fumes released from the explosion and that released daily from the company contained carbon, harmful to the health, adding that most of his workers were diagnosed of respiratory infections and some coughed blood.

He said the consistent pollution of the air by United Steel Company Limited had affected his business because most expatriates he brought to work for the company had left due to the unhealthy air quality.

Mr El Kurdi said he approached management of United Steel personally to resolve the inconvenience, but to no avail and he had also written several letters with videos on pen drives holding the evidence of the pollution to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Ministry for Environment Science Technology and Innovation (MESTI).

He said about 200 workers in his company; 50 expatriates and 150 Ghanaians were being exposed daily to the poisonous gases and the company was investing a lot to see that the right thing was done.

“The situation is bad and this had been going on for so long; decline in business, losing staff and our health are all in danger,” he said.

He called on the government and stakeholders to ensure United Steel Company Limited followed laid down guidelines given by EPA to prevent all forms of air pollution in the Free Zone Area to avert future dangers.

Mr Adams Aikens, Foreman, MND Metals Company Limited, said they as workers had also reported the inconvenience to the Kpone Police Station and the Environmental Health Safety Office at Kpone.

He said a worker, George Amoah died out of the air pollution, two years ago adding that his doctor also advised him after a health checkup that his life was at stake due to the poor air quality caused by the pollution from United Steel Company Limited.

Daniel Adraku, 33, folk lift operator of MND Metals Company Limited, said the smoke clouded his vision during work and had to wait for over an hour to continue working which delayed his output.

“One of our guys called John Tetteh is suffering from Asthma as a result of the pollution,” he said.

Mrs Cynthia Asare Bediako, Chief Director of MESTI when contacted said the Ministry had little information about the incident and needed to conduct further investigations.

The Ghana News Agency was unable to gather information from United Steel Company Limited as those contacted were unwilling to volunteer information.