Luweero tyre recycling plant risks closure over emissions

Friday June 21 2019

Warned. Ruma factory in Luweero District. Nema

Warned. Ruma factory in Luweero District. Nema has issued a 21-day ultimatum to the plant to stop the hazardous oil spillages and carbon emissions. PHOTO BY DAN WANDERA  

By DAN WANDERA

The National Environment Management Authority (Nema) has issued a 21-day ultimatum to a tyre and plastic recycling plant to stop oil spillage and carbon emissions.
The factory in Nyimbwa Sub-county in Luweero District reportedly releases black smoke that produces a foul smell.
It is also alleged that it recycles old tyres into industrial oil using chemicals which pollute the air.
A notice by Nema handed to managers at Ruma Industries on Monday, says the proprietors have in the last seven years failed to contain emissions despite several reminders.
The notice is a follow-up of the inspection Nema team conducted after receiving numerous complaints from environmentalists and residents in Nyimbwa Sub-county.
“We carried out an inspection of the facility and found a number of issues including evidence of oil spillages, carbon emissions affecting the environment in the area, personal protection equipment and safety of workers at the factory. The improvement notice gives them 21 days to make changes, failure of which they will face legal action including prosecution or closure,” Mr Tonny Achidria, the Nema senior public relations officer, confirmed to Daily Monitor on Tuesday.

Findings
Mr Achidria said they found oil spillages around the storage area inside the factory which exposes workers to fire incidents.
“There was no record of disposal or transportation of hazardous waste. We, however, took samples to our laboratory to ascertain the other allegations about the hazardous materials,” he added.
The Luweero District natural resources officer, Ms Teopista Gateese, confirmed to Daily Monitor yesterday that they had received complaints from residents of Nyimbwa Sub-county over the matter.
Residents claim the proprietors of the factory dump some of the metallic waste at a nearby swamp which could contaminate their water source.
“The factory managers have failed to address our plight whenever we approach them. One time they told us that the smoke was not dangerous,” Mr Abdallah Ssebi Beli, a resident of Bombo Town, claimed in an interview.
Mr Shaban Khemis, a resident of Kikomeko Village, said although the dark smoke from the factory chimney had drastically reduced, the stench persists. “It is very unfortunate that when we brought up this matter in 2014, the authorities did not take it up with the factory owners. We believe that this smoke is not safe for human beings. The situation could be worse for people working inside the factory because many lack protective gear,” Mr Khemis said.
Mr Lolani Amin, who identified himself as operations manager for Ruma Industries, said: “We are using technology not known to many people which possibly explains why some residents are making such allegations. We assure our neighbours that there is no eminent danger to the environment,” he claimed.
About the oil spillage, Mr Amin said it occurred during the loading process before transportation and that it is not a technical error.

Background

Ultimatum. The notice is a follow-up of the inspection Nema team conducted after receiving numerous complaints from environmentalists and residents in Nyimbwa Sub-county.

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