Ambient air quality and the health of communities around Chirano Gold Mines Limited

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In communities where mining operations take place there are lot of environmental problems that comes with their processes. One of the greatly affected parts is ambient air quality. This studies aims at investigating the pollution status of the ambient air and the state of health of the communities living within its catchments. With the vitalograph, lung function tests namely; Forced Vital Capacity, Forced Expiratory Volume in 1 sec., Peak Expiratory Flow and Forced Expiratory Flow were performed on inhabitants of Paboase and Akoti communities in the concession of the Chirano Gold Mines Limited. The PM10 and Total Suspended Particles (TSP) in the ambient air were also monitored for a period of 8 months at 7 sampling stations. Results show that the mean PM10 level (64.04 μgm-3) was below the EPA- Ghana standard (70 μgm-3) but above the WHO standard (50 μgm-3). Also the levels of PM10 were below these standards except at all sampling stations except at the Rom Pad (166.72 μgm-3) possibly due to the crushing of rocks and its feeding into the processing plant causing greater liberation of particulate matter into the atmosphere. Mean TSP level (138.93 μgm-3) was also below both the EPA- Ghana standard (230 μgm-3) and WHO standard (200 μgm-3). For similar reasons, higher levels (367.62 μgm-3) than the standards were recorded at the Rom Pad. There was a statistical difference (p<0.00) between the predicted and the measured ling functions suggesting that the ambient air is not polluted and hence, there are health effects associated with the prevailing ambient air quality.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Materials Engineering of the Faculty of Materials and Chemical Engineering, in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of MASTER OF SCIENCE, in Environmental Resources Management