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Saturday, July 3, 2010

Errant quarries shut down in Ajman

BY PMA RASHEED
The Gulf Today, 2 July 2010

Two stone-crushing units operating in the Musfoot area in Ajman have been shut down by the UAE Ministry of Environment and Water (MoEW) for not complying with environmental and public health safety regulations.
Sources at the MoEW said that one of the violating crusher units — in the absence of an effective dust pollution control mechanism — was found to be emitting excessive dust into the atmosphere.
“Meanwhile, the other crusher unit was functioning without a proper covering of its main crushing plant as well as screening station inside the quarry,” said the ministry in a statement.
According to it, immediate actions have been initiated against the quarry operators, and until proper maintenance and repairs are carried out for controlling dust emissions, notice has been issued to suspend their unit’s operations.
“The actions against industrial establishments have been implemented in coordination with Ajman Municipality, as per the environmental regulatory guidelines issued in a ministerial order in the beginning of this year. “Cabinet decision No.20/2008 also specifies the regulations on facilities operating in the quarries and stone-crushing industry,” said a spokesperson of the MoEW.
“The violations have been found during the MoEW’s regular inspection visits to the sites in Musfoot. The field inspectors carry out day and night visits to the quarry and crusher units operating in the Northern Emirates to strictly implement the regulatory guidelines,” he added.
According to him, local environmental authorities in Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah and Ajman are cooperating with the MoEW in implementing the environmental lawns in regard to the operation of stone quarries.
Dr Rashid Ahmad Bin Fahad, the Minister of Environment and Water had said that the ministry has classified quarries into three categories — green, yellow and red.”
“This classification comes in accordance with their adherence with safety and preventive systems aimed at reducing dust pollution,” he added.
“The red category quarries do not have dust control systems to reduce dust pollution. The ministry will take stringent actions against such operators who do not abide by the rules,” he pointed out.
“The stone mining and crushing units were regularly monitored by the environment ministry to ensure maximum adherence of the sites to the regulations on environmental protection health and safety measures,” said Bin Fahad.
“The technical office collects data on the volume of daily production at such sites, and also checks the types of equipments used as well as the systems installed to control dust and noise from the sites,” he added.
The ministry has been taking punitive measures against many quarries upon negligence of public health safety conditions. Many of them had no equipments to limit dust emissions.
Environmentalists say that quarries and cement factories pose serious environmental impact on the mountainous regions, which are being dug up to produce stones and building materials for the construction sector.

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