Airplane Crash – Ghana

3 Jun


THE IMPORTANCE OF AIRPORT ZONING: A REFLECTION ON THE PLANE CRASH

Written by Afromusion

Today I want to discuss the airplane crash which just occurred in
Ghana a few hours ago. The Nigerian based Allied Air plane had
difficult taking off, and killed at least 10 people, the number of
deceased people has not been finalized. Ghana is a wonderfully
country, yes. But Ghanaians, and the people of Ghana have been dying
unnecessarily for DECADES, usually as a result of Road accidents. Now
there is a plane accident. The plane accident needs to be discussed in
depth and not just in passing. A plane had difficulties taking off
in Ghana and killed several people. There are several questions to ask
, such as :
1.Why did it have problems ? Was the plane too heavy? Who checked the
weight of the cargo plane and was it recorded accurately?
2. What goods were contained on the plane. Did the contents of the
goods have something to do with the plane crashing?

But more importantly, the main thing that needs to be discussed is
Urban Planning. Yes, Urban Planning. Although I am known for my
discussions about Ghana music, I would like to talk about Urban
Planning, because I actually have a Masters degree in Urban
Planning, so Im quite familiar with this topic.


Urban Planning and the Kotoka Airport:

When you google map the KOTOKA Airport, there is something very
striking—the fact that there is too much development around the Kotoka
Airport.WHY? Who has allowed all of this development to occur?
FACT: do you know that in foreign countries, when an airport is built,
there is something called the AIRPORT /RUNWAY CLEARING ZONE
What is an airport clearing zone? A clearing zone is created around an
airport. In the airport clearing zone, these are the areas that are
most likely to experience a plane crash as the plane lands and takes
off. In the clearing zone, you have what is called a BUFFER. A BUFFER
is an area of trees and bushes. The airport buffer is made up of acres
and lands surrounding the airport so that if a plane crashes, it will
not kill people in their homes. It will only affect the people on the
plane.

HEIGHT AND USE RESTRICTIONS:
In an airport clearing zone/runway protection zone, certain uses and
certain heights of buildings are restricted. Buildings can not be a
certain height in the protection zone. Accra is booming and many tall
building are being erected. The next time you are in Accra, ask
yourself,” isn’t this building too tall to be located so close to the
airport?”.
Uses—in an airport zone, certain uses are prohibited. Schools and
other recreational type uses are prohibited. Schools and public places
are prohibited from being placed in airport protection zones because
they attract large groups of people ,which can be dangerous if a plane
were to crash and burn after takeoff. Google “KOTOKOA INTERNATIONAL
AIRPORT”, click on “photos/satellite” and tell me what you see. If you
are unable to do it, let me describe what is there. When you look at a
satellite picture of Kotoka International airport, you see many
things:
1. You will notice that at the lower end of the Kotoka Airport plot,
near El-wak, there is not that much distance between the runway and
residential areas. Not only that, but there are SEVERAL SCHOOLS
located SO CLOSE TO THE AIRPORT. There are too many schools near the
airport. Why? This is so dangerous. The map shows the School of
Ordinance Military Academy, West African Exam Centre, Mothercare
School, and Police A&B Primary School. These schools and the El-Wak
stadium are WAY too close to the airport.This should never have been
allowed. They are clearly in the airport protection zone. If a plane
has problems taking off/landing , it will definitely crash around such
areas—the school areas.
Why should schools and public places not be allowed so close to
airports? Due to what happened at Kotoka.There needs to be a buffer /a
protection zone to clear room for any accidents that may or could
happen. Where is the buffer zone at the Kotoka Airport—there does not
seem to be one. Also, the buffer zone is for noise. The decibels
increase as a plane is nearing its final destination.The noise
intensifies, therefore it is important, once again, to have a buffer,
to reduce the impact of noise on nearby residences. This is why
residences should also be restricted from building in certain areas
around airports. This is also why in most airports around the world,
they are surrounded by commercial, and not residential uses.
Many airports throughout the WORLD have runway protection/buffer
zones.Yet, Ghana seems to be lacking one.Why is that? No matter how
much a country is ‘booming’, everyone’s life is at risk if the
country does not enforce their airport zone regulations. No schools,
tall buildings, anything relevant should be in the protection zone. It
is in this zone, that the country has to prohibit residential and
civic use.

Look at this document. It describes the importance of runway protection zones:
http://www.faa.gov/airports/central/aip/sponsor_guide/media/0500.pdf

It is quite sad that innocent lives were lost but I hope that the
assembly men will sit down and reexamine the ways in which the airport
may be a safer place and neighbor for all living around it.

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