Identification and quantification of obsolete chemicals in second cycle institutions in the Ashanti Region of Ghana

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Chemicals may be defined as a pure substance with definite compositions, characteristics and properties which occurs in nature or through chemical reactions. Chemicals used in Ghana can be categorized into bulk, fine chemicals and research chemicals. The imported ones are usually meant for practical work, demonstrations and for research in educational institutions. It is appropriate to state that not all chemicals used in our educational institutions for practical work and demonstrations are imported. Greater numbers of the chemicals purchased or donated to the educational institutions have short shelf life and may be characterized largely as poisons, hazardous or toxic. A major problem of concern that arises is that if the quantities of the chemicals found in the schools exceeds that required, little or no considerations are made on how to store the excess chemicals. This may lead to piling up of the excess chemicals over a period of time. These excess chemicals for which no immediate use is required are noted as Obsolete Chemicals. This research work focused on how to classify and quantify the obsolete chemicals in the selected second cycle schools in the Ashanti region of Ghana. The research enumerated the possible dangers that obsolete chemicals may pose to the laboratory personnel, the general public and to the environment. A total of 439 obsolete chemicals were recorded in this study of which 398 were classified and 41 were unidentified. Out of the 398 whose identity were detected and classified, 179, representing 44.97 percent of the identified were unlabeled while 219 representing 55.03 percent were labeled. The total weight of obsolete chemicals from all the schools was 168.2kg. Nkawie Senior High Technical School recorded the least value of 32.32kg whiles Afua Kobi Ampem Girls’ Senior High School recorded the highest value of 102.5kg which is twice as much as the sum of the weights recorded from the other two schools.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Theoretical and Applied Biology, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfillment of the requirements of Master of Science degree in Environmental Science.