Bokro (W/R), Nov. 25, GNA - Management of Western Diamond Cement Limited (WDCL) has reaffirmed its commitment to strictly abide by the directives of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on mitigation measures against dust emission, and other waste products of the factory.
This follows concerns and agitations by some nearby companies, particularly Monpee Company and residents of Bokro, the community where the company is located about the emission of cement dust from the company’s plant.
However, addressing the media on the impasse, Ms. Ellen Angela Jonah, Senior Administrative and Human Resource Manager of WDCL assured the community that measures have been taken to safeguard their safety.
“We want the entire community to know that the company is a law-abiding firm and works with all rules and regulations of the Republic of Ghana and it will not do anything that will negatively affect the health of the people”, she said.
Ms. Jonah said somewhere in May this year, the company encountered some challenges regarding its bag filters within the dust extractors which resulted in the emission of dust from the road leading to the highway.
As a result, she said the company was summoned by the Regional Coordinating Council to a meeting where there were representatives of the EPA, Municipal Health Director, the Paramount Chief of Lower Dixcove, among others.
In that meeting, she said eight recommendations were given to WDCL to fulfil which included submitting a comprehensive environmental mitigation action plan to the EPA on impact rectification, of which they have done so.
It was further recommended to WDCL to remove all raw materials stored outside and to give prior notice to the EPA before the commencement of transfer of clinker materials.
Accordingly, Ms. Jonah the said maintenance works had been done with bag filters replaced, adding that, the evacuation of the raw material had also begun with the remaining ones covered by tarpaulins.
She alleged that the construction of a shed for the storage of raw materials was ongoing.
“It was recommended to the company to design a strategic maintenance plan on its operational equipment and machinery to reduce dust emission. That has also been done”, she added.
Ms. Jonah said the National Tuberculosis Control Programme through the Ghana Health Service (GHS) has been contracted to conduct screening for about 350 staff of the company to ascertain the disease infection prevalence.
She said the results of the screening showed that none of the staff had the TB disease which indicated that there was no evidence to suggest that the company’s plant caused that harm to the community as was being speculated.
According to an EPA assessment of the situation, about 70 percent of the dust emission was from the untarred road from the factory gate that joined the highway with the rest coming from other sources.
Mr George Diawuo, Acting Regional Director of the EPA said they expected the WDCL to complete the evacuation of its raw materials with the area well barricaded for truck safety by the first quarter of 2022.
According to him, the EPA had secured a self-mandate to do dust monitoring in all cement companies.
“As an agency, we have made it a policy through the Executive Director to do self-monitoring. So now the companies will not be doing dust monitoring. We will bring our dust monitors to monitor all the dust from the cement companies”, he said.
Meanwhile, a technical committee headed by the Director of the EPA had also been set up to monitor the activities of WDCL, especially its action plan and mitigation measures that have been put in place.
Nana Kwesi Agyemang IX, Paramount Chief of Lower Dixcove implored WDCL to expedite action on the evacuation of its raw materials.