The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) has halted the operations of Pramukh Steel Limited plants for steel manufacturing and power generation in Njeru Municipality, Buikwe District.
The suspension follows several complaints from the public over air pollution from the two plants prompting a team of NEMA inspectors and officials from Njeru municipal council to visit the facility over the weekend.
In the statement, NEMA says during their visit, they found that the plants did not have adequate air pollution controls as black ash arose from burning of bagasse at the power generation plant and pungent fumes from the steel furnaces that were being openly released into the environment and had become a nuisance to the surrounding communities.
The environmental authority added that there were several health and safety concerns as well including the lack of personal protective equipment for the workers handling scrap metal particularly at the receiving yard and the steel furnaces, lack of signage and proper walkways at the plants and there was evidence of injured workers on site.
“The suspension will remain in force until appropriate air pollution controls have been put in place and all the health and safety concerns that were identified during the inspection have been addressed to NEMA’s satisfaction.” The statement says.
Section 128 of the National Environment Act, No.5, 2019 provides for powers and duties of environmental inspectors to; (i) close any manufacturing plant or stop any other activity or seize any equipment, vehicle or vessel which pollutes or is likely to pollute the environment… (j) issue an environmental improvement notice or environmental compliance notice requiring the operator of any manufacturing plant or other activity to cease any activity deleterious to human health or environment….