NATION

Police Stop The Lami Dust Rally

Ms Whippy said the protest was a way they hoped they would be heard by the factories and authorities that Lami residents were fighting for a clean and healthy environment.
11 Apr 2021 10:00
Police Stop The Lami Dust Rally
Karamia Philip, 10 , with other Lami residents take part in a protest to raise their concern on dust emissions from the cement factories in Lami on April 10, 2021. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Lami residents yesterday staged a peaceful protest to raise their concerns on the neighbouring cement factories, Tengy and Pacific Cement.

They stood in front of their homes in red tee-shirts and banners, in clusters, from Wailekutu to Delainavesi to protest against the dust emissions during the transportation of clinkers from the port to the cement factories.

Police Spokesperson Savaira Tabua said Police had to interfere and stop the protest.

This was because the residence had not obtain a permit.

The protest organiser, Sydel Whippy, was questioned, advised and released yesterday.

Ms Whippy said the protest was a way they hoped they would be heard by the factories and authorities that Lami residents were fighting for a clean and healthy environment.

“There has been some progress in the past six months which we are thankful for, but we think there still needs to be more work done,” she said.

“The protest is about dust emissions, clean air and a healthy environment.

“Anyone could drive past Lami and see emissions, all we want is for the two cement factories to abide by the law and practise safe operations.”

She claimed residents were facing health complications from the emissions and dust that were coming out of the factories and when clinkers are transported to the factories.

She said they had been closely working with the Department of Environment under the Ministry in looking at issues faced by the residents.

“We may not get sick tomorrow but exposure from it over the years will surely tell. I feel sorry for the men working in the factories, most of them without protective wear.”

Police officers question Lami residents who protested against dust emissions from the cement factories on April 10, 2021. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

Police officers question Lami residents who protested against dust emissions from the cement factories
on April 10, 2021. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

Permanent secretary for the Ministry of Environment Joshua Wycliffe said they had prohibited all operations until the issue was rectified.

“If we don’t find it satisfactory the Prohibition Notice will not be lifted. Any facility that emits has been stopped and will be stopped.

Tengy cement deputy general manager Tomas Choi said they were working hard to ensure that they comply with the Environment friendly standards set out by the Ministry of Environment.

“We are doing our best to comply with the requirements and we have water trucks that sprinkle water on the roads to minimise dust emissions while transporting clinkers,” Mr Choi said.

Pacific Cement referred all queries to Tengy Cement.

Clinker is the incombustible residue, fused into an irregular lump, that remains after the combustion of coal it is a key part of cement making.

Edited by Selita Rabuku

Feedback: inoke.rabonu@fijisun.com.fj



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