By PMA RASHEED
The Gulf Today,
30 July 2010
The quarries in the emirate of
Fujairah produce 168 million tonnes of rock piles per year, according to a survey conducted by the UAE Ministry of Environment and Water (MoEW).
"Out of the total 103 stone quarries operational across the UAE, 68 crusher units are located in Fujairah, while the emirates of Ras Al Khaimah and
Ajman are having 30 and five such establishments respectively," revealed the ministry.
The statistics have been provided after the federal authorities carried out surprise inspection visits to a number of stone crusher units in
"At least 14 such facilities have been checked by the MoEW inspectors during night time and punitive actions have been imposed on violators of environmental and public health safety regulations," said the MoEW sources.
"Some violating crusher units were found to be emitting excessive dust into the atmosphere, in the absence of an effective dust pollution control mechanism," it added.
"If the offenders fail to fix the violation or repeat it, the ministry will shut down the establishments."
The inspections have been conducted as part of the ministry's strategies to ensure that such industrial establishments are complying with environmental and public health safety regulations, said a spokesperson of the MoEW.
"The ministry recently intensified its procedures monitoring pollutions from the stone quarries aimed at preserving the natural resources and reducing environmental contaminants that cause negative impact on public health," he added.
According to him, Cabinet decision No.20/2008 specifies the regulations on facilities operating in the quarries and stone-crushing industry.
"A ministerial decision issued in 2010 defines the conditions on the functioning of stone quarries in the country," he added.
Dr Rashid Ahmed Bin Fahad, the Minister of Environment and Water, had said, "The decree focused on the guidelines for planning, operation and implementation of such industrial units."
"The regulations were also applicable to cement plants and factories, tiles and ceramics factories and marble industry units," he added.
The ministry had also classified quarries into three categories - green, yellow and red - in accordance with their adherence with safety and preventive systems aimed at reducing dust pollution.
"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," said the minister.
"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 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.
(Images, upplied by MOEW)