The UPR convoys follow Helwan's suffering from environmental pollution through a visit to the Suez Cement Factory

The UPR convoys follow Helwan's suffering from environmental pollution through a visit to the Suez Cement Factory

The initiative of the Suez Cement Company is positive ... but the issue needs a technical study and a transparent discussion between the factory management, the environment, health and the people

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On Thursday, August 4, 2016, Maat for Peace, Development and Human Rights visited the Ezbet Abu Dahroug factory in Kafr El Alou city in Helwan, south of Cairo governorate, which is affiliated to the Suez Cement Company, based on an invitation from the company after the foundation issued last July a report documenting the suffering of Helwan residents from the spread of some chronic diseases And life-threatening, the most important of which is chest and cancer diseases, especially asthma, chronic allergies, inability to breathe and lung cancer, as a result of the presence of a number of cement factories within residential areas that produce a group of dust and materials that inhalation leads to serious diseases and may lead to death. Where the Foundation relied in its research on documented information related to the number of deaths approved in a group of health offices, reports issued by oncology institutes accredited by health offices, and the presence of cement factories within the residential space in violation ofEnvironmental Affairs Law No. 4 of 1994, as amended by Law No. 9 of 2009, Measurements of falling dust over the Helwan area, the WHO report issued in November 2011 and live testimonies of residents of Al Maasara and Ezbet Abu Dahrouj in Helwan during a field visit by the Foundation last July.

In response to the company's initiative, the Foundation formed a delegation headed by the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Foundation and consisting of a group of Officials  Researchers from the Public Policy Analysis Unit of the institution, where they visited a field visit to the factory, and the visit began with an introduction about the Maat Foundation and its efforts in documenting some issues related to human rights in all governorates of the Republic, trying to find alternatives to policies, proposing a set of recommendations and communicating with officials to find solutions to these problems, as part From the institution’s work on the universal periodic review mechanism and the recommendations emanating from it and in the belief in the role of civil society in supporting the state in improving human rights conditions and implementing its voluntary international obligations.

Then the officials of the Suez Cement Company made a brief presentation of the establishment of the group and its transformation from a public sector to a private sector, pointing out some improvements that were made to the company's factories in an attempt to improve working conditions and adherence to the environmental requirements imposed on its factories, in addition to the company's efforts to help the community in which its factories operate as part Of her societal responsibility. This is followed by a visit to the factory control unit, through which the level of dust emission from the factory is monitored.

The Corporation appreciates the interest of the Suez Cement Company in what was published in the Corporation's report, and the company's initiative as part of the private sector to invite Maat Foundation to get close acquaintance with the work of the company as a whole and the factory in particular on the nature, a tendency that praises the company and its leaders, following its visit to the Kafr El Alou factory of the company Suez Cement, which is one of the three factories in Helwan, and taking into account that the corporation is not a technical inspection body, Maat recommends the following:

1. Holding a public discussion session with the participation of factory officials, representatives of the people, environmental experts and officials of the Ministry of Health to discuss all that is raised about the harmful effects of factory fumes with transparency and complete neutrality, in order to achieve two basic goals, namely, preserving the right of citizens to a clean environment and high health standards, and to preserve the company's investments and economic successes .

2. The necessity of conducting a study to measure the level of dust and smoke in the Helwan region, and transferring / closing any cement factories that definitely prove non-compliance with the environmental requirements necessary to preserve the lives of citizens.

3. To stop granting construction / work permits to any of the factories that violate Environmental Affairs Law No. 4 of 1994, as amended by Law No. 9 of 2009,

4. Setting progressive penalties for the disposal of industrial waste in the Nile,

5. Activating the legislation related to compensation for those affected or their families from the risks of life near industrial areas, especially those that do not adhere to the minimum safe distance between industrial establishments and residential areas,

6. Developing the health and life insurance system for workers in industrial establishments whose work may cause serious diseases,

7.Adopting a comprehensive social health insurance law to ensure the provision of health care to citizens and contribute to saving their lives,

8. The importance of the role of civil society in improving human rights conditions by proposing legislative and policy proposals to reduce the suffering of citizens from such violations,

9. The inevitability of the private sector to open up to civil society and society as a whole, and to strive to find alternatives that contribute to reducing the risk of working in residential areas, a matter for which the behavior of the officials of the Suez Cement Company and its factory in Helwan is a model for it.

10.The importance of the private sector taking responsibility for the presence of its factories / companies in residential areas, including repairing the damaged roads of their heavy transport vehicles, afforestation of the areas in which their factories are located to act as a wall to ward off pollutants resulting from factories, relocating schools / hospitals away from their factories etc.,

11. The need for parliamentarians to carry out their supervisory and legislative role to preserve the lives of citizens.

In conclusion, Maat stresses that civil society is the link between citizens on the one hand and the government and the private sector on the one hand, as the Foundation exerts intensive efforts to enhance awareness of the UPR, and the recommendations that Egypt committed to implementing during the second session of the review, through a set of voluntary activities that include Field visits to the governorates as part of the "UPR convoys", a set of alternatives and solutions related to the adoption of policies / legislation compatible with Egypt's international obligations, production of a set of graphic films, recorded episodes and theatrical works on the UPR and the most important issues that the Egyptian community suffers from. With the recommendations of the review, in addition to the issuance of a set of statements, appeals and reports related to improving the human rights situation, and direct communication with a different group of stakeholders, including executives at the central level, parliamentarians, media professionals, and the private sector.

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