12 December 2013, Accra, Ghana - During the week of 9 December 2013, the “GEF/UNITAR/UNDP/EPA-Ghana Project on Capacity Building for the Elimination of PCBs in Ghana” entered its final key phase. In particular, the 10th session of the Project Steering Committee (PSC) convened on 12 December 2013 and adopted a number of key decisions:
- Acknowledging that 2014 is pivotal for the project since the key project milestone (disposal of the hazardous substances) will be achieved. All PSC members restated their commitment to the project and pledged their full support and cooperation to ensure the successful completion of the project by December 2014.
- Reaffirming its decision to undertake a single national disposal operation that includes PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), but also obsolete pesticides with POPs characteristics and ozone depleting substances (ODS) as a way to save costs and time, as well as promote synergies.
- Agreeing on the exact quantities and characterization of wastes that will constitute the single national disposal operation i.e. 54 metric tonnes of PCB contaminated wastes including PCB contaminated soils, 70 metric tonnes of obsolete pesticides with POPs characteristics, and 6 metric tonnes of ozone depleting substances.
- Noting the need for the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) to still collect oil from about 31 transformers that have tested positive and store it at the temporary PCB storage facility in Tema.
- Directing ECG to jointly work with the Secretariat and ensure that all PCB contaminated transformers from all the regions are drained of oil estimated at 10 metric tonnes, collected and safely stored at the temporary PCB storage facility in Tema by 28 February, 2014.
- Instructing the Secretariat to ensure that all key project deliverables are well documented and stored for easy retrieval and further monitoring, as well as confirming that project tools (such as the national PCB management plans and PCB management guidelines) are being used by the intended recipients.
- Agreeing on the detailed work plan for 2014 and instructing the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) team to ensure that that all successes from the project are evaluated through bench marking against the baseline and that results are accurately recorded and reported.
The process for the procurement of the PCB disposal services is nearing completion. Disposal activities to rid Ghana of these harmful substances are expected to commence in the first half of 2014.
This project is executed nationally by the Ghana Environmental Protection Agency (Ghana EPA) and internationally by UNITAR, with support of UNDP and financing of the Global Environment Facility (GEF).