A petrol station attendant in Nakuru fuels a car on January 15, 2015. The latest drop will see motorists pay Sh85.49 per litre for super petrol. PHOTO: KIPSANG JOSEPH/STANDARD
A petrol station attendant in Nakuru fuels a car on January 15, 2015. The latest drop will see motorists pay Sh85.49 per litre for super petrol. PHOTO: KIPSANG JOSEPH/STANDARD

A report has accused Swiss commodity trading companies of selling low-quality diesel and gasoline in Africa that are damaging environment and people’s health.

“Many West African countries that export high grade crude oil to Europe receive toxic, low-quality fuel in return,” according to the report “How Swiss Traders Flood Africa with Toxic Fuels” published late Thursday by Public Eye, a Switzerland-based non-governmental organization.

What makes the diesel toxic is its high level of sulphur content that exceeds the standard in Europe, the report said.

Other toxic substances, such as benzene and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, were also found in concentrations that are also banned in Europe, rapidly raising air pollution in African cities and jeopardizing the health of millions of people, it said.

The report noted that these toxic fuels were mainly mixed in the ARA-Zone (Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp) where Swiss trading firms had their own refineries and storage facilities.

“Producing and selling such products is illegitimate and violates the African populations’ right to health,” the report said.

For their test, Public Eye researchers drew fuel at local pumps in eight African countries, namely Ghana, Angola, Republic of Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Senegal, Benin, and Zambia.

The report said the diesel with high sulphur levels were found mostly at pumps operated by Swiss trading companies exploiting lax regulatory standards.

“In Ghana, we found diesel at Vitol and Trafigura operated petrol stations with average sulphur levels between 240 and 360 times higher than the European standards of 10 parts per million (10 ppm),” the report lamented.

The result of the analysis revealed that the diesel samples contained up to 378 times more sulphur than is permitted in Europe.

The report explained that although fuels imported by Ghana’s Bulk Distribution Companies (BDCs) from these Swiss traders fell within Ghana’s national standard averaging 3,000 ppm, which is about 2000 times worse than the standard accepted in Europe.

In response, Senyo Horsi, Chief Executive Officer of the BDCs, said the burden of regulation and upholding standards lies on the government, adding that Ghanaians must be ready to pay for high quality fuel if the practice must stop. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/News Ghana

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