The Ghana Association for Radiation Protection (GARP), with focus on; “Protecting People and the Environment for Sustainable Development,” has been inaugurated .
The mission statement of the Professional body is to promote excellence in radiation protection by setting benchmarks for players in the sector to meet international standard and also regulate and Promote professional conduct,knowledge and skills of members.
Membership of the Association is open to professionals and students in the field of radiation protection.
GARP is registered with the Registrar Generals Department under the Companies Act, (Act 179) of 1963 and is a member of the International Radiation Protection Association.
The inaugural ceremony held on Friday in Accra, also witnessed the introduction of eight-member interim executives with Professor Cyril Schandorf ,Lecturer at School of Nuclear and Allied Science,University of Ghana as the President of the Association.
The other executives are Dr Joseph K. Amoako, Vice President, Dr Stephen Inkoom, Secretary, Mrs Cynthia K. Engmann, Assistant Secretary, Dr Francis Otoo, Organiser, Mr Philip Deatanyah, Assistant Organiser, Mr Razak A. Awudu, Treasurer, and Ms Rita Kwabea Osei, Assistant Treasurer.
Dr Kwaku Aning, Member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors, elated with the establishment of the Association, stated that,the move is good step towards the protection of both humans and the environment from the harmful effects of radiation, particularly those generated artificially.
He urged the Association take decisions embedded in sustainable development, elevate itself as Professionally competent and unbiased with highly ethical, professional and knowledgeable in Radiation Protection issues to Protect the environment .
Dr Aning explained that although ionizing radiation existed naturally all over in the atmosphere, especially after certain travel distances from the earth, and also uranium emissions from underground, there were also manmade sources which include those used medically for x-rays and the treatment of cancers, agriculture and industrial purposes such as in mining and aircraft maintenance.
He said as much as those natural sources were harmful they existed in very minimal quantities and, therefore, did not pose much harm, compared to the man-made ones that could be very dangerous with severe consequences to both humans and the environment if not well protected and managed.
Ionizing radiation, he said, could either be dangerous or beneficial depending on how it was used, and charged the Association to advance its objective and purpose by promoting knowledge, information, research and promoting networking opportunities for professionals in the field or related ones.
Dr Aning said it was also crucial for the Association to ensure proper radiation protection for occupational, medical and public exposure by ensuring the appropriate use and disposal of man-made radiation sources.
He was also passionate about finding sustainable solutions to the country’s current predicament regarding illegal mining, saying the massive and irresponsible pollution and poisoning of some water bodies and reserved forest lands was unacceptable and must be halted before the situation got out of control.
Prof. Cyril Schandorf, the Interim President of GARP, said the Association would focus and place much emphasis on protecting plants and animals to save many from extinction.
He encouraged stakeholders to research into radiation science, develop standards and disseminate safety information to the benefit of all.
Prof. Isaac Kwame Abor, the Deputy Director-General, Nuclear Regulatory Authority, assured the Association of the full co-operation of the outfit.