In the aftermath of the Atomic Junction explosion, some officials appear hesitant to outrightly condemn the apparently haphazard siting of gas and petrol stations.
The massive explosion at a gas station near Atomic Junction, which has so far claimed seven lives, sparked protests and rekindled the fears of residents regarding the siting of fuel stations in densely populated residential and commercial areas.
About eight different gas explosions have claimed nearly 30 lives since 2014.
But responding to a question on the matter from the media on Sunday at the scene of the explosion, the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology & Innovation, Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, was more concerned about stringent safety measures and regular checks, as well as sanctions.
“Maybe safety measures [need to be focused on], beginning from home because I believe that more people die in their kitchens than die from such accidents [explosions] because we don’t adhere to certain simple basic measures. You have to examine your gas stove, see whether it is working…”
“Make sure the cylinders are working when you are going to buy the gas and that the valves are not leaking and make these are safety measures that we will have to address from the home to where we buy the gas from,” the Minister added.
Prof. Frimpong Boateng, however said he was trying to avoid any “knee-jerk” declarations, saying his ministry is drawing up policies to address these explosions, and “when the policy is in place, we can come out with something that is concrete.”
The Fire Service’s Director of Public Relations, Billy Anaglatey, also downplayed the concerns some Ghanaians have over the siting of these gas and fuel stations.
He rather attributed the lapses that have led to the loss of lives to lax safety measures and indiscipline.
“…personally, it’s not about the location of the gas filling station. It is all about indiscipline on the part of the drivers and their mates, and the attendants at the gas filling station,” the Fire Service’s PRO opined.
“If you look at all these explosions that we had at gas filling stations, they were all out of indiscipline because they were as a result of offloading the gas. Before you offload the gas, there are various rules and regulations and safety measures that you are supposed to adhere to.”
For him, addressing the safety aspect of the distribution of gas is more of a priority than the location of these stations.
“…failure to adhere to some of these safety measures definitely will result in some of these unfortunate situations we are having on our hands. Whether the filling station is located in the bush or somewhere, I think if we are not disciplined, we will continue to have fires on them,” Mr. Anaglatey stated.
Meanwhile, the Government is expected to hold a crunch cabinet meeting over Saturday’s gas explosion that occurred at Atomic Junction in Accra.
The National Petroleum Authority (NPA), also already has plans in place to introduce a Cylinder Recirculation Module which seeks to ensure the safe distribution of Liquefied Petroleum Gas in the country.
Also read: Gas Explosion Should Be A Wake-Up Call