Civil Society Organizations Coalition for the Periodic Review in a field visit to the Charcoal Cameras in Qalyubia
The coalition calls on the Minister of Environment to enforce the law and eliminate the "death industry" in the governorate
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Within the framework of its interest in monitoring a set of challenges facing the fulfillment of human rights in the governorates, and its keenness to provide technical support to the NGOs that are members of Civil Society Organizations Coalition for the Universal Periodic Review Especially with regard to monitoring, documentation and reporting skills on local human rights situations, the Egyptian National Society for Human Rights in Qalyubia (member of the coalition) implemented, in cooperation with Technical Support Unit With the Maat Foundation for Peace, Development and Human Rights (the General Secretariat of the Alliance), a field visit to 211 coal bins in a group of villages in Qalyubia Governorate, which are among the largest producers of charcoal in the republic, the most important of which is the village of Aghour Al-Kubra.
Whereas, the National Assembly had spotted the problem related to the spread of coal pipes in Qalyubia governorate, and the consequent severe damage to the environment and the right to health, in violation of Egypt's international obligations and articles of the Egyptian constitution related to the right to a healthy and healthy environment and the right to health, especially the recommendations made to Egypt during the session The second UPR 2014, including recommendations from Kazakhstan, provides for: “Make more efforts to realize economic, social and cultural rights, including by strengthening social protection measures“, Iran states: "Intensify its efforts to realize economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to health", Nicaragua provides Continue to allocate efforts to promote economic, social and cultural rights.
The main problem is the production of charcoal from wood through coal pipes, which are spread in the villages of Markaz Toukh and al-Qanatir al-Khayriya in particular, as the Qalyubia governorate includes more than 600 mounds that began to be constructed nearly 30 years ago, most of which are located in the village of Aghour Al-Kubra, from A total of approximately 5,000 sq km nationwide, 99% of which are in the Delta governorates. Egypt is ranked eleventh in the world in the export of charcoal.
Coal stations rely on open burning, which causes damage to the surrounding environment, such as streams and agricultural lands, in addition to smoke and exhausts resulting from coal combustion and the emission of sulfur dioxide, first and carbon dioxide, as the concentration of this gas in the air of the Makamer area reaches 1500 units per day. In the cubic meter, while the permissible limit in the industrial environment does not exceed 500 milligrams per cubic meter, which may cause a stroke.
The emission of dioxin and freon gases leads to an increase in global warming, in addition to the danger of dicocin on animals, as well as the production of substances such as tar and black smoke, which have a negative and dangerous impact on human life, animals and the environment. Also, carbon monoxide gas, with a high ability to combine with hemoglobin 200 times more than oxygen, may lead to severe poisoning and various chest diseases, such as asthma, chest allergies, and bronchitis, and the increased nitrogen oxide content causes irritation of the alveoli in the lung. The smoke from burning charcoal may also cause lung cancer when inhaled in the long term.
The residents of the great village of Aghour suffer from the spread of acute pneumonia, chronic people infections and allergies, asthma, A virus, and the incidence of cancer among the villagers has an annual rate of 7 to 10 cases and is increasing, which is directly attributable to this economic activity The killer and violator of environmental standards and requirements
In spite of the issuance of Decree No. 355 of 1993 banning the operation of coal pipes by the Minister of Environment, Decision No. 7/2012 of the Governor of Qalyubia, the decision to allocate a plot of land in the Belbeis desert in the Sharqia Governorate to transport the cameras, and the decision of Eng. Adly Zayed, the former Governor of Qalyubia, regarding the transfer of cameras to the city Al-Khanka due to its distance from the residential block, in addition to the Minister of Environment's decision issued on 1/19/2016 regarding stopping the export of coal to abroad, and the recent decision of the Qalyubia Governor No. 482 of 2016 regarding the formation of a committee to reconcile the conditions of the charcoal pipelines within the province. None of the previous decisions succeeded in eliminating the problem.
Based on the above, the coalition recommends:
- Take immediate measures to enforce the law and implement previous decisions issued by the governors of Qalyubia and the Minister of Environment,
- Extending the existing ban on the operation of cameras between September-November 2016 until all papers and documents required by the Ministry of Environment are completed to reconcile the status of the cameras and register them.
- Banning the work of cameras that continue to use the traditional methods of making charcoal and are not committed to the use of developed furnaces that reduce the percentage of pollution.
- An immediate investigation has been opened into the reasons for the Environment Minister's inability to eliminate the violating coal mills operating in residential areas so far.
- Providing a mechanism to guarantee transparent access to the real business owners who own coal cameras, to facilitate their accountability before the law in case they violate the decisions of the governor / minister of environment,
- Tougher punishment for violating officials' decisions and / or the requirements of the Ministry of Environment regarding the work of the cameras.
- Establishing a long-term plan to transport cameras to uninhabited desert areas with the provision of modern and developed furnaces in order to preserve the environment and the health of camera workers.
- Providing free treatment to everyone who is proven to have a disease resulting from the work of the coal-fired machinery.
- Amending the work hours of the executives who supervise the work of the cameras to ensure that there is a follow-up for the violating cameras that operate at night.
- Accountability of executives or other decision-makers who prove failure to perform his duties and cause more harm to the surrounding environment and the health of the governorate’s residents.