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Danger!

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…Corrosion Eating Away Major State Assets
…Essipon Stadium, Tema Oil Refinery, Ghana Water Company Ltd. Worst Affected

President of Corrosion Institute-Ghana (CorrIGh), Patrick Eshun, has stirred discussion on how the electrochemical reaction is eating away majority of our national assets, with Essipon Stadium, Tema Oil Refinery, Ghana Water Company Ltd. being the worst affected, as the world marks World Corrosion Day, today.

Corrosion is the process by which something deteriorates because of oxidation, a chemical action that creates oxides that flake away from the base.

Mr. Eshun is particularly worried that the proportional cost of corrosion to Ghana is set to be above the global average judging from the unfortunately low or lack of adoption of maintenance culture including Corrosion Prevention & Control.

The president of CorrIGh lamented in a press statement yesterday thatseveral projects are often times left to rot; costing the nation huge revenue losses, higher cost of “last minute” maintenance or replacement, longer operational breaks for detailed maintenance or reconstruction, among others.

“Notable among these projects/assets left at the mercy of corrosion in Ghana”, he said “include Sports Stadia – particularly the Accra & Essipon Stadia; Tema Oil Refinery – where reported pipeline leakage caused fire out-break a couple of years ago; Ghana Water Company Ltd – old pipelines with leakages waste treated water as well as corroded internal linings of pipelines pollute treated water going to consumers’ homes; Fuel Installations – with contamination of fuel through water/other fluid seepage into underground pipelines/tanks; Automobile – rickety cars, lorries and heavy duty vehicles causing carnage on our roads; Advertising Industry – where giant bill boards fall over; Roads & Highways – Metal Culverts/Drain Covers, Traffic Light and Directional Sign Posts being lost, Rail Guards lost, Steel Bridges losing their integrity and expected performance thus becoming death traps; and in our homes: Main Metal Gates, Hand Rails, Metal Fences and Satellite Dishes wasting away. The list goes on and on,” Mr. Eshun observed.

Giving the breakdown on how much the state loses as a result of corrosion, Patric Eshun noted that the annual global cost of corrosion was $2.5 trillion, equivalent to roughly 3.4% of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP), according to IMPACT study by NACE International and that implementing corrosion prevention best practices result in global savings of 15-35% of that cost, or $375-$875 billion.

He catalogued the Lack of knowledge on corrosion which makes applicators or asset owners use inappropriate/banned products which are injurious to health, with examples being the use of Lead based paints in and on “Containers”, wrong coatings/paints used on/in assets for storing food-based items, among others as the reason corrosion is eating away major national assets.

He contended that “Low levels and or lack of knowledge brings us to another key factor which is few or absence of trained Corrosion Professionals. Our ability to understand the economics of corrosion and effectively design, assess, monitor and apply the right products and systems to protect valuable assets is premised on training and research”.

To prevent, effectively control and master corrosion, however, Patrick advised it required “commitment of Government, Institutions, Asset Owners and Corrosion Professionals/Prospective Professionals. That is the sure way to derive all the benefits of an effective maintenance regime and fulfilling career”.

Read below the full unedited statement from the President of Corrosion Institute Ghana:

CORROSION – Prevent, Control, Master!

Author – Patrick Eshun (President, Corrosion Institute Ghana – CorrIGh)

Corrosion is the process by which something deteriorates because of oxidation, a chemical action that creates oxides that flake away from the base. In its broader consideration, corrosion is described as an electrochemical reaction that appears in several forms, such as chemical corrosion and atmospheric corrosion, the latter of which is the most common form. When acidic substances (including water) come in contact with metals, such as iron/steel, rust begins to form. Although the word is most often associated with the physical breakdown of metals through rusting, the erosion of concrete/rock by wind and water is also a form of corrosion.

Corrosion prevention/control helps protect and extend the lifecycle of critical infrastructure and assets. When corrosion prevention/control is not adequately maintained, damage occur quickly and costly failures inevitably result. The annual global cost of corrosion is $2.5 trillion, equivalent to roughly 3.4% of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP), according to IMPACT study by NACE International. Implementing corrosion prevention best practices result in global savings of 15-35% of that cost, or $375-$875 billion.

The proportional cost of corrosion to Ghana is set to be above the global average judging from the unfortunately low or lack of adoption of maintenance culture including Corrosion Prevention & Control. Several projects are often times left to rot; costing the nation huge revenue losses, higher cost of “last minute” maintenance or replacement, longer operational breaks for detailed maintenance or reconstruction, among others.

Notable among these projects/assets left at the mercy of corrosion in Ghana include Sports Stadia – particularly the Accra & Essipon Stadia; Tema Oil Refinery – where reported pipeline leakage caused fire out-break a couple of years ago; Ghana Water Company Ltd – old pipelines with leakages waste treated water as well as corroded internal linings of pipelines pollute treated water going to consumers’ homes; Fuel Installations – with contamination of fuel through water/other fluid seepage into underground pipelines/tanks; Automobile – rickety cars, lorries and heavy duty vehicles causing carnage on our roads; Advertising Industry – where giant bill boards fall over; Roads & Highways – Metal Culverts/Drain Covers, Traffic Light and Directional Sign Posts being lost, Rail Guards lost, Steel Bridges loosing their integrity and expected performance thus becoming death traps; and in our homes: Main Metal Gates, Hand Rails, Metal Fences and Satellite Dishes wasting away. The list goes on and on.

It’s a pity to learn, in modern times where Nations, Institutions, Asset Owners, et cetera are making gains in savings on Corrosion; negative reportage of losses, leakages, explosions and collapse of infrastructure continue to dominate our news headlines.

Lack of knowledge on corrosion causes applicators/asset owners to use inappropriate/banned products which are injurious to health – Examples being the use of Lead based paints in and on “Containers”, wrong coatings/paints used on/in assets for storing food-based items, among others.

Low levels and or lack of knowledge brings us to another key factor which is few or absence of trained Corrosion Professionals. Our ability to understand the economics of corrosion and effectively design, assess, monitor and apply the right products and systems to protect valuable assets is premised on training and research.

Corrosion management, specialized field as it is, requires extensive industry-specific experience in developing policies, strategies, objectives and meaningful metrics. Senior corrosion engineers have decades of corrosion management knowledge obtained through training, management interactions and field experience. An age distribution of the NACE International indicates that, globally, only approximately 20 percent of members are 40 years of age or younger and almost 50 percent are 51 years of age or older. This means that as these older engineers retire, there is a risk of a large amount of this knowledge being lost. It is essential then to educate and train younger corrosion engineers in corrosion management in order to bridge this impending knowledge gap. This call is even more crucial for Ghana looking at our present number of professionals with the globally acceptable industry standard corrosion qualifications.

To prevent, effectively control and master corrosion, requires commitment of Government, Institutions, Asset Owners and Corrosion Professionals/Prospective Professionals. That is the sure way to derive all the benefits of an effective maintenance regime and fulfilling career.

The Good Old Book (The Bible) admonishes: ‘Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth where moth and rust doth corrupt and where thieves breakthrough and steal.’ (Mathew 6:14). While we live here on earth and are blessed with treasures (assets), it is our duty to not sit for rust to corrupt or steal them.

The time to act on Corrosion is now.

Corrosion Institute Ghana (CorrIGh) undertakes Research, Consultancy, Training and Certification in Corrosion Prevention, Control and Management. For Information, Individual & Corporate Membership & Industry Training, contact us on +233 201 786446.


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