The West African Gas Pipeline Company Ltd (WAPCo) has warned that activities of encroachers along its pipeline Right of Way (RoW) could have grave consequences if not stopped immediately.
Encroachment on and along WAPCo’s pipeline right of way has continued unabated, in spite of the fact that the Company has installed warning signs and markers on the RoW and regularly organizes RoW and Emergency Response awareness campaigns in the Community. Residents continue to engage in bush burning, sand winning, farming and indiscriminate dumping of refuse on or very close to the Company’s Right of Way.
Lamenting the situation, Mr William Osei-Owusu, Deputy External Relations Manager of WAPCo had this to say: “We have had discussions with the encroachers. We are using all manner of approaches to get people away from the station. We don’t want to antagonise our stakeholder community and we are looking forward to a permanent solution.”
Natural gas is colourless, odourless, highly flammable and very difficult to detect. Any damage to the pipeline carrying it could spell disaster for the surrounding community. Human lives and property could be lost in the event of an explosion or pipeline incident resulting from unauthorised activities. It is therefore important to ensure the protection of the facility by all means necessary.
External Relations Manager, Mark Mensah, believes all, including local authorities, have a role to play in ensuring the integrity of the pipeline.
“We need to do everything to protect the pipeline; residents of the area should consider their safety. If the unfortunate should occur, the damage will be irreversible and we expect the laws to work. Authorities have a role to play in securing the place” he said in an interaction with the media.
Finding a lasting solution to the problem
To find a lasting solution to this nagging problem, Stakeholders, made up of representatives from the Tema Metropolitan Assembly, Tema Development Corporation, Environmental Protection Agency, Tema Traditional Council, Ghana National Fire Service and the affected community, were assembled at the Royal Nick Hotel to brainstorm on the best ways to end the menace.
Explaining the need for the stakeholder engagement, Mr Mark Mensah stated that it was important for those who mattered to meet to find a lasting solution to the issue.
“People are dumping refuse along the right of way; people are farming on the right of way; people are herding animals on the right of way. So it is important we bring people together to talk to them about this kind of problems”, he said.
The engagement was characterise by lively discussions which led to actionable recommendations for all stakeholders.
Members of the media present at the event were also urged to support such initiatives aimed at raising awareness and preventing incidents that could result in a national disaster.