It was a mixture of education and entertainment as about 90 members of the Citizens Committee Network (CiCoNet) in Fanteakwa South, Abuakwa South and Atiwa West districts of the Eastern region were taken through a day’s training program on the basics of air quality.

CiCoNet members from Juaso, Nsuapemso, Sagyemase, Abompe, Dwenase, Hemang, Dome, Saamang, Nsutam, Kplandey, Bososo, Ahwenease and Asikam converged at Asiakwa for the training organized by Advocates for Community Alternatives (ACA), an Accra-based non-profit-making organisation that supports West African communities threatened by extractive activities by multinational entities to take control of their own development and give them the tools to advocate for their own vision of the future.

ACA’s Science Advisor, Dr. Kwabina Ibrahim, took the participants through topics such as Conventional Air Pollutants, Climate Pollutants and Health Effects of Air Pollution, among others.

He explained that some human activities have adverse impacts on the ozone layer thereby contributing to the much talked about climate change.

Sharing what she learnt from the workshop, Madam Gladys Adwoa Aso of Nsutam CiCoNet noted that the program had taught her that poor air quality has adverse health implications on crops and rainwater.

“I learnt that the quality of rainwater has changed over time due to the change in the environment and so going forward, I won’t be drinking rainwater as I used to do due to is associated the health implications.”

Another participant, Juliet Konama of Sagyemase CiCoNet, described the workshop as an eye opener as she learnt a lot about how various household activities contribute to air pollution.

“I do set fire on my refuse every day, and I’ve learnt today that the smoke emanating from such fires do contribute to air pollution and so I need to figure out better ways of disposing off my refuse. Even if I should continue setting fire on my refuse, I must wear nose-mask to protect myself against any infections”, she explained.

For her part, Miss Gertrude Oppong of Asikam CiCoNet said she had learnt to report any organisation or an individual that engages in activities which pollute the environment to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the appropriate action to be taken.

About CiCoNet

Citizens’ Committee Network (CiCoNet) is ACA’s answer to the threat that our partner communities face from powerful economic interests.  Whereas FCAP gives communities hope for a better economic future, CiCoNet is an interface group of concerned citizens who help protect the communities’ development vision.  CiCoNet members are trained to speak with government officials and other stakeholders on behalf of their communities, raising concerns in ways that allow local authorities to help resolve key community concerns.

Through CiCoNet, our communities have won key victories, such as prompting the suspension of a highly polluting mining company’s operating permit and inducing companies to fill abandoned pits that endangered the welfare of children and livestock.