The Member of Parliament (MP) for Shai Osudoku says she is unaware of the existence of the Chinese manufacturing company accused of severe air pollution which has led to the closure of a Senior High School in the area.
“I wasn’t in the know, I wasn’t aware, I got the news only last week Friday on my tour of some communities in the constituency,” Linda Ocloo told Daniel Dadzie on Joy FM’s Super Morning show on Monday.
She explained that attempts to meet the headmistress of the Senior High school and the District Chief Executive to discuss the severe smoke problem have been futile.
The Osudoku Senior High School was shut down last Friday after Headmistress of the school, Sylvia Baaba Yankey explained the school can no longer contain the harmful smoke emitted by a toiletries and plastics manufacturing company owned by Chinese close by.
She said academic work has been affected and after a series of agitations by students, the school authorities have decided on a temporary closure until the issue is dealt with.
"The boy’s dormitory and the classroom block are close to the factory. Since Tuesday the stench and the smoke which for some time now has subsided erupted again. Ghana Education Service is very much aware of the situation,” she said in an interview with Accra-based Citi FM.
Responding to the concerns, the MP said on Joy FM's Super Morning Show Monday, she could have helped address the environmental issue if it had come to her attention earlier.
“There is no way I can know all the companies in the constituency, but what I want them to do is that when there is an issue, they should let me know early so that we can see the way forward,” she said.
For a constituency that is known for pollution from factories, Madam Oklu said “this issue should be left in the hands of the stakeholders…chiefs and those who gave the land to these people to operate.”
She is, however not in favour of a complete closure of the factory.
For her, because the factory employs many people in the area, “if we have to close it down, we will, but we should know how to handle the issue.”
Meanwhile, a team of experts from the Environmental Protection Agency are on their way to the area to ascertain the extent of pollution.
Its Head of Public Affairs, Angelina Mensah said a thorough assessment of the factory will be undertaken and promised to update the public on steps the Agency is taking to address the issue.
She also revealed that although the operators of the factory were given the permit to recycle paper, they have received information which suggests otherwise.
She said sanctions will apply if, after investigations, it is found that “they are doing something outside of what they were given a permit to do. Certain sanctions will apply.”