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Lami Clinker Project: Stop Work Order- Clean Up Act, Cement Factories Told

The stop order was the result of mounting public pressure from residents and businesses of Lami, over poor clinker containment measures.
12 Aug 2020 11:24
Lami Clinker Project: Stop Work Order- Clean Up Act, Cement Factories Told
The Department of Environment has issued a stop order to four cement operators in Lami over health concerns and air pollution.

Two cement factories closed on Friday after a stop order was issued by the Department of Environment.

Pacific Cement and Tengy Cement, both cement manufacturers based in Lami, must rectify the disposal and containment measures related to clinker, as part of conditions to reopen.

The stop order was the result of mounting public pressure from residents and businesses of Lami, over poor clinker containment measures.

Last week, residents and business representatives alike gathered at Lami Parish Hall to meet and discuss their concerns with stakeholders.

General Machinery, which transports clinker for the two companies, was also issued a stop order.

The company must convince the Environment authorities that spillage on the highway is contained.

The fourth operator Swire Shipping was also served a stop order.

Attempts to obtain comments from Swire Shipping, who are behind moves to build a state of the art clinker facility in Lami, was unsuccessful.

Permanent secretary for Environment Joshua Wycliffe said yesterday the four operators “needed to do a few things,” before production could resume.

“Things like speed limits, not going too fast, travelling between certain hours, and also making sure that the tucks is properly covered, so there was no leakage or emissions, use desk cameras with water sprinklers, so they don’t go into the air.

“Obviously, this doesn’t seem to be happening.

“There’s a breakdown in the way things have happened.

“While clinker gets transported from the Port to Lami, there’s a lot of spillage or emissions, so people are breathing in this bad air.”

Mr Wycliffe said the transport company had agreed to put checkpoint s along the route to the cement factories.

He said: “These checkpoints will have people checking what speed is going with the camera.

“They will put independent observers who are not part of the company to only check them.

“They are also increasing the number of trucks.

“By increasing the number of trucks, you’re able to work back faster.

“You will do this load better with lesser speed, otherwise you have to come back faster, go back faster to accommodate your daily targets.”

Fiji’s cement manufacturing sector’s national worth is $50 million.

The industry employs an estimated 200 people.

Pacific Cement

Pacific Cement is a subsidiary of Fijian Holdings Limited (FHL).

FHL acting chairman Yogesh Karan said Pacific Cement was working with the authorities to resolve concerns.

Tengy Cement health, safety and environment officer Vakacegu Kalu said he was confident the company would be back in production today.

“Our staff have just been cleaning and playing some sport,” Mr Kalu said.

Committee

An Environment Monitoring Committee has been established to look into concerns raised by residents and businesses.

Feedback: laiseana.nasiga@fijisun.com.fj

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