This was contained in a rejoinder to a Ghana News Agency (GNA) story carried on Friday November 23 headlined: “Vegetables in Accra are contaminated”. The rejoinder was signed by Mr Daniel S. Amlalo, Acting Executive Director of EPA.
Our attention has been drawn to a publication taken from your network with the title “Vegetables in Accra are contaminated”.
We wish to state the following:
1. The Agency did not organize any media consultative workshop on this topic as indicated in your report
2. The Agency does not agree with the levels of DDT quoted in the said article as being 5000 times higher than the permissible level. This is because the chemical was banned in the country since 1992, and the several surveys we conducted did not reveal any stocks in the country.
3. The Agency contacted the source of the information, Mr. George Ortsin, the National Coordinator of the GEF small grants programme for his source of the data in the interview he granted the GNA and he quoted a November 2008 report by the CSIR entitled “Laboratory Analysis of the Level of Persistent Organic Pollutants in Vegetables sold in the Accra Metropolis”. Critical review of the report showed that there was no such data of that level of DDT (5000 times higher than the permissible limit). What the report stated is the level of DDE (a derivate of DDT) as being about 500 times above the limits for human consumption. The presence of DDE indicates that there has been a previous exposure of DDT in the environment and does not imply a recent exposure. A recent study done by Koomson et al., 2012 entitled “Assessment of insecticides in body fluids (breast milk), crops and the ecosystem in horticultural farming communities in Accra” showed that the levels of DDE in fruits and vegetables in Accra are 15 times higher than the permissible limit. This shows a gradual decline in the levels of the pesticide in the environment. This clearly indicates that DDT is not being used in the country for agricultural purposes as being portrayed by Mr. George Orstin in his interview with the GNA.
4. It must be noted that before 1992 when import and use of DDT was banned, it was one of the commonest pesticides on the Ghanaian market and being a persistent organic pollutant, there will be traces of its derivatives (DDD and DDE) in the environment for a period of time.
5. Part Two of the EPA Act, 1994 (Act 490) is dedicated solely to Pesticides Control and Management and the Agency has put in place the necessary structures and procedures for the registration of pesticides for use in agriculture and public health in Ghana.
6. The procedure involves scientific evaluation of data to ensure that only pesticides that present manageable risks to human health and the environment are registered.
7. The structures include collaboration with the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority to control importation of unregistered pesticides.
8. The Agency wishes to assure all Ghanaians that only safe pesticides would be registered for use in the country through its pesticides registration programme.