An Environmental audit of Suame Magazine

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The environment of Suame Magazine has been audited. Notable among the characteristics of Suame Magazine is the high level of ingenuity exhibited by the over 4000 artisans who work there. The audit took the form of a general survey of environmental practices prevalent at Suame Magazine. The audit sought to determine the extent to which Ghana’s environmental laws and standards were being adhered to at Suame Magazine. It also sought to determine the suitability and efficacy of health and safety measures adopted by the authorities at Suame Magazine. Lastly, attention was focused on environmental management practices with the aim of determining how well the authorities were preserving the integrity of their environment. Methods adopted for the study included site visits, documentation of observations and conducting interviews with the artisans. Samples were also taken from the Suame Magazine stream for chemical analysis. The aim was to examine the pollution load of the stream and identify the sources of pollution. The audit revealed that less than 5% of the artisans at Suame Magazine had been educated beyond middle school form four. Environmental concerns did not play a major part in the problems of the artisans and residents of Suame Magazine. It was realized that obsolete vehicles, obsolete machinery, and human solid waste were major sources of pollution at Suame Magazine. Siting of rubbish dumps along the banks of the Suame stream was seen as very unhealthy. Corrosion was observed as a common feature at Suame Magazine. The product of corrosion and other chemicals such as oil and acids were constantly washed by rain into the stream. Noise, dust, vehicle exhaust emissions, metal vapour and poor architectural and spatial design were identified as other sources of environmental problems at Suame Magazine. The artisans were found to have very little knowledge of environmental legislation. They seemed to believe it was the duty of the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly and the Ghana National Association of Garages to keep the larger environment clean. Theirs was to keep their immediate surroundings tidy. Suame Magazine was found to be a dirty place. Health and safety standards simply did not exist at Suame Magazine. However, no major symptoms or diseases were identified as peculiar to Suame Magazine. Management practices were found woefully inadequate. The attitude of management was almost entirely indifference. The pollution load of the Suame stream was too high and unacceptable. The major pollutant in the stream was human solid waste and oil. The stream was therefore a major source of pollution of the Owabi reservoir. Better architectural and spatial planning were seen as a means of addressing some of the environmental problems at Suame Magazine. Education of the artisans and management is also crucial.
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Master of Science degree in Environmental Resources Management, 2001