Displaying items by tag: pollution
Pakistan: People living in the vicinity of Kohat Cement Factory have complained that dust and fumes emitted from the plant's two kilns are causing serious diseases. A group of local elders said that continuous blasts in the mountains near the factory had also caused cracks in the houses of local people, but that the factory administration was not ready to listen to their complaints or provide assistance to repair them.
The elders said that the plant administration was bound under an agreement to pay surface rent to the people on whose collective land the plant had been built, but no dues had been paid to the people since 1992. The agreement also included providing 80% of the jobs in the plant to local people, which the elders said was also being violated.
Greece: The Supreme Court of Greece has ordered the Heracles' General Cement Company, a subsidiary of Lafarge, to pay the residents of Agia Marina, Halkida Euro78,000 as compensation for pollution from its cement plant.
The court upheld the settlement's arguments that the cement plant had failed
to adhere to the environmental terms in its operating licence in order to avoid the relevant costs and refused to take measures for the proper maintenance and modernisation of its facilities. They said this resulted in all outdoor areas in the village being covered in a layer of cement dust up to 1.2cm thick, including the nearby coastline.
The village residents had originally sued for a total of Euro1.14m but the court awarded the residents a much lower sum, even though it found that the company's omissions fully justified their claim to moral damages resulting from their deprivation of environmental benefits and the threat to their health from exposure to environmental pollution.
India: The State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) of Odisha has issued a show cause notice to UltraTech Cement plants at Arda village, Kirmira, for violating pollution norms and asked the company to respond within 15 days as to why action should not be taken against it.
Residents of the areas surrounding the Ultratech plant have complained that white dust released by the plant is causing health hazard. Regional Officer of SPCB, Mukesh Mahalinga, said that the show cause notice was issued after an SPCB team inspected the plant and its surrounding areas on 5 – 10 December 2013. He said that if the company management fails to submit a satisfactory explanation for the non-functioning of an dust metre in the plant, action will be taken against it.
China: The city of Beijing will ban the construction of new oil refining, steel, cement and thermal power plants as well as the expansion of existing projects, in accordance with the government's latest policy document aimed at tackling air pollution.
The ban will take effect from March 2014. The policy document, which was approved by local legislature in mid-January 2014, also commits China's capital city to cut total emissions of particulate matter (PM) 2.5 by 5% in 2014.
Beijing was hit by weeks of hazardous smog in January 2013, prompting the central government to pledge tough new measures to improve air quality throughout the country and head off public disquiet about the environmental costs of economic growth.
US: The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and industry groups including cement producers have failed to settle a permit dispute that is testing whether the agency has the authority to require operators of hazardous waste combustion units to conduct risk assessments that can be used to strengthen emissions limits for mercury and other pollutants when renewing the facilities' existing waste and air permits. Negotiations stalled during a meeting in November 2013 between EPA lawyers and cement kiln operators at EPA's Region V offices, according to an 8 January 2014 status report the parties filed with the Environmental Appeals Board (EAB). Litigation will continue on 20 February 2014.
The case began on 8 July 2013 when ESSROC Cement petitioned the EAB to review Region V's decision requiring a site-specific risk assessments (SSRA) at ESSROC's hazardous waste combustor facility in Logansport, Indiana, during the 2012 renewal of the facility's RCRA permit. After the facility conducted the SSRA, Region V imposed a restrictive annual mercury feed rate limit, which ESSROC said, "goes far beyond what is necessary to protect human health and the environment."
The case marks a new test for the risk assessment requirements EPA attached to its 2005 regulations governing hazardous waste combustion facilities that emit air pollutants, including cement kilns. The 2005 regulations set strict new maximum achievable control technology (MACT) standards under the Clean Air Act (CAA) for the combustion facilities that burn the hazardous waste. The rule also integrated the MACT standards with Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) requirements so that facilities must comply with the MACT standards to be eligible for RCRA permits.
China: China has released a plan to cap coal consumption to below 65% of its total primary energy use by 2017 in order to tackle air pollution.
"The pressure to curb air pollution is rising amid China's industrialisation and urbanisation and increasing consumption of energy and resources," said the government plan. The plan follows widespread public awareness of air pollution since levels of particulate matter smaller than 2.5μm (PM2.5) recorded in Beijing broke World Health Organization safety limits in January 2013.
According to a plan published on the country's national website, new industrial projects in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region in north China, the Yangtze Delta region in the east and the Pearl River Delta region in the south will be banned from building their own captive power plants. These regions will also be encouraged to replace coal use with power purchased from other areas or with power generated from natural gas or non-fossil fuels such as nuclear power. The plans follows previous measures to phase outdate industrial capacity.
However environmental activists and analysts quoted by Reuters have pointed out that the system could be undermined by loopholes such as allowing areas to import energy from elsewhere.
China: Taiheiyo Cement Corp. has been ordered by the Chinese city of Nanjing to close a local production facility by the end of 2014 according to The Nikkei. Closing the Nanjing plant would reduce Taiheiyo Cement's Chinese cement output capacity by 30 - 40%.
Nanjing cited air pollution as the reason and issued the same mandate to local cement manufacturers as well. It has not said whether or not there will be any compensation. The Japanese firm has said that it will ask the city to reconsider. If Taiheiyo Cement does not follow the order, the local partner with which it has a joint venture will likely be punished, with those in charge to be dismissed from the company.
US: Lafarge North America has agreed with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the US Department of Justice and New York State to provide US$1.5m towards projects to reduce air pollution in the community surrounding its Ravena cement plant. The agreement also grants Lafarge additional time, until 1 July 2016, to reduce air pollution from the cement plant.
"This agreement will reduce the pollution limits required by the settlement at this facility by providing a significant amount of funding for projects that will improve local air quality," said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A Enck.
A March 2010 settlement between the federal government and Lafarge North America over violations of the Clean Air Act required that the cement producer either install controls on two kilns at its Ravena plant or replace those kilns with a lower emitting kiln by 1 January 2015. In return for the deadline extension, Lafarge has committed to interim air pollution limits at the existing kilns intended to result in the same or higher reductions as would have been required by the original agreement in addition to funding local air pollution reduction measures.
US: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has fined Ash Grove Cement US$2.5m and is forcing the American cement producer to invest US$30m in pollution controls at its plants in nine US states that are alleged to have violated the Clean Air Act.
The EPA and the US Department of Justice announced the penalty jointly on 19 June 2013. The EPA said that the action would reduce thousands of tonnes of harmful pollutants at plants in Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Texas. In addition Ash Grove Cement will spend US$750,000 towards mitigating the effects of past excess emissions.
Ash Grove acknowledged the agreement in a statement and said that it is striving to comply with environmental regulations at all its facilities. It disputes that it violated the Clean Air Act, saying it opted to enter this agreement with federal regulators rather than face rising costs in time and financial resources that would have accompanied further discussions with the EPA.
"The agreement with the EPA will allow Ash Grove to move forward and provide an environmentally sustainable product that is the foundation of our economy," said Charles T Sunderland, the company's chairman and chief executive officer.
The EPA said that its agreement with Ash Grove Cement, lodged on 19 June 2013 in the US District Court for the District of Kansas, is the first settlement with a cement producer that also requires injunctive relief and emission limits for particulate matter, a combination of combustion gasses and fine dust. There is a 30-day public comment period before final court approval.
The US$2.5m penalty will be distributed to eight states and one agency that took part in the agreement: Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Oregon, Utah, Washington and the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency. Ash Grove will also spend US$750,000 on a project to replace old diesel truck engines at its facilities in Kansas, Arkansas, and Texas, estimated to reduce smog-forming nitrogen oxides by approximately 27t/yr.
China: 17 cement companies have been found to regularly violate environmental protection laws by illegally discharging airborne pollutants, according to a report led by the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (IPEA). The report, conducted by the IPEA with several independent institutes and environmental non-government agencies (NGO), also accused the companies of failing to disclose environmental information as required.
The 17 cement companies have about 170 recorded environmental violations between them. Violations listed in the records include the lack of denitrification facilities, faulty monitoring appliances and excessive emissions.
"The State Council recently released 10 measures to control airborne pollution and achieve energy and emissions reductions. The extremely energy-intensive cement, steel and thermal energy production industries, especially those leading listed companies, need to share the heavy responsibility of reducing emissions and not disappoint the public," said Ma Jun, director of the IPEA.
The cement industry is among the six most heavily polluting industries that were required by the Environmental Protection Ministry to meet international emission limits from March 2013. Dust emissions from the cement industry accounted for about 30% of total industrial emissions in 2009.
"We found that this industry has shocking problems with dust and waste gas emissions. The cement industry's violations have deeply harmed the living environment and health of those who live near the factories," said Fang Yingjun from environmental NGO Green Jiangnan.
The environmental NGOs said that they have contacted the 17 listed companies to inform them of the aforementioned pollution problems, but most of the alleged offenders took an evasive stance.