The potential of integrating vehicular emissions policy into Ghana’s transport policy for sustainable urban mobility
SN Applied Sciences
School of Engineering
Auto vehicle emissions are a major challenge for ambient air pollution control in most developing countries including Ghana. Major auto emissions, particulate matter, are critical road transport emissions that threaten human health and the environment but are often excluded from policy discussions. In Ghana, vehicle acquisition schemes are not environmentally friendly and current national policies have alienated the monitoring of airborne emissions from the transport sector. This calls for the design and implementation of green transport and fuel economy options. We discuss the critical role of motor vehicle particulates in Ghana and propose policy solutions for sustainable urban mobility. We have shown that environmental remediation, social equity and sustainability can only be achieved when transport emissions are properly integrated in a coordinated transport policy. Ghana has a National Transport Policy that recognizes the challenges of environmental pollution due to vehicular emissions and uneconomic fuel consumption. There are green fuel policy proposals and a vehicle testing and licensing regime that is largely driven by mechanical and electrical functionality. Auto-vehicle emissions performance standards have not been developed and technical capacity for emissions testing is lacking. Ambient air monitoring is limited to particulate matter which is not nationally representative as it is confined to Greater Accra Region at only 15 sites. 77% of road users believe 20% of all cars in urban centres visibly exude fumes. Noise pollution and vehicular emissions were reported at 78% and 75% of 160 respondents respectively. Vehicle owners, drivers and driver unions are apprehensive of electric cars but would welcome a reliable, convenient and efficient mass transport system. Abatement strategies to reduce vehicular emissions particulates will require integrated solutions and inter-agency collaboration among regulatory institutions. The Environmental Protection Agency and Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority should be empowered to develop emissions performance standards and conduct real time monitoring of particulates with the assistance of the Motor Traffic and Transport Department of the Ghana Police Service. It is further recommended that volatile organic compounds, particularly benzene series contaminants, should be monitored by the Agency. Further research on vehicular emissions of volatile organic compounds and their health effects on road users should be carried out to understand the full impact of exposure of on-road emissions.