30 April 2012, Accra, Ghana – In the context of the joint Ghana Environmental Protection Agency, GEF (Global Environment Facility), UNDP and UNITAR's Project on Capacity Building for the Elimination of Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) in Ghana, a PCB Inventory Dissemination Workshop took place from 25 to 26 April 2012.
Opening remarks were given on behalf of the Minister of Environment, Science and Technology, reaffirming the commitment of Ghana to the 5-year project to eliminate PCBs. Over two days, participants from government agencies, the private sector, NGOs, UNDP and UNITAR reviewed project progress, heard a report on the initial findings of the PCB inventory exercise (a nationwide inventory of electricity transformers and capacitors to determine the levels of PCBs and PCB contamination), and began to consider next steps, in particular in relation to eventual PCB destruction options and increased awareness raising, especially for the public and workers in the electricity utilities sector. Next stage in the process will be the collection of PCBs and materials contaminated with PCBs at a central storage site prior to their eventual destruction.
Also attending the workshop were participants from Nigeria and Senegal, with the aim to share knowledge and experiences with regional partners working on PCB issues.
A Project Steering Committee meeting was held immediately following the workshop on 27 April 2012.
PCBs are a class of man-made compounds that were manufactured and used extensively in electrical equipment such as transformers and capacitors. However, PCBs are considered to be immunotoxic and affect reproduction. Once released into the environment, PCBs do not break down but travel over long distances and continue to pose health risks to humans and a danger to the environment. PCBs are chemicals listed under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs).