Impact of mining on air quality within the Hwini-Butre and Benso area in the Western Region of Ghana

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Mining is one of the main sources of particulate matter contamination to the environment. A six-month study on the impact of mining on ambient air quality within the Huni-Butre and Benso mining concession area was carried out in the Mpohor Wassa East District of the Western Region, Ghana. Air quality samples were collected at six sampling sites between August 2010 and January 2011 using deposit gauge bottles (AS/NZS 3580) to sample dust fallout from the ambient air, and dusttrak Aerosol Monitor (8535) to determine real-time suspended dust concentrations. Dust fallouts were also analysed for total solids, insoluble solids, combustible solids and ash contents while the dusttrak aerosol monitor measured ambient PM10 concentrations. The levels of nuisance dust and mass concentrations of suspended particulate matter at Yayaho, Subriso, Ningo, Anlokrom, Mpohor Pentecost area and Mpohor Police station were determined. Results revealed that the levels of particulate matter, mainly suspended dust were above WHO threshold limit in some of the communities. Insoluble dust fallout values ranged between 3.6 mg/m2/month and 109.2 mg/m2/month, while suspended dust recorded values within 5.1μg/m3 and 74.0μg/m3. The highest PM10 was recorded at Yayaho and the minimum at Mpohor Police Station. Both short term and long term exposures to such particulate matter have serious health effects on the inhabitants of the area. The study brings to the fore the need for annual and daily fine particle monitoring and development of ambient air quality standards and targets for mining companies to help protect the health of populations of communities in these mining environments. Studies to assess the relationship between air pollution levels and health problems in mining communities have been recommended
A thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the Degree of Master of Science in Environmental Science