Tanzania: Twiga Cement shut over dust pollution

Bya897204973

Updated Tue, 10 Feb 2015 17:24:18 GMT

The National Environment Management Council (NEMC) has indefinitely closed down Tanzania Portland Cement Company (TPCC, Twiga) over environmental pollution.

NEMC senior legal officer Heche Suguta said that the plant was also required to pay US$26,944 in penalties. He said that the NEMC had established that the plant was discharging a huge amount of dust, which was bad for the environment and the people surrounding the plant. "We have several times asked the plant management to work out this shortcoming, but they have not taken any steps to mitigate the problem," said Suguta.

Twiga manufactures almost half of the cement produced by the three major plants in the county and its closure is likely to spark the fear of a sharp rise in cement prices. According to 2013 statistics, Twiga produces 1.4Mt/yr of cement out of the 3Mt/yr the country can produce. The remaining 1.6Mt/yr is shared among Mbeya Cement Company and Tanga Cement Company.

Suguta said that, previously, Twiga had four chimneys to emit pollutants, but three broke down and the plant was using only one out-dated chimney, which was overwhelmed. "The plant will be allowed to resume operations only after sorting out the problem by controlling dust," said Suguta. He said that the NEMC had been receiving complaints from residents surrounding the area that the dust from the plant was causing headaches and respiratory problems. "If they disobey this order, we will arrest their managing director and other stern legal action would follow."

Twiga's managing director and area manager for East Africa, Alfonso Rodriguez, said that the dust was coming from an old plant after the filter of the new plant got a technical fault. He said that they had ordered a new filter, which might take a month to arrive in the country.