Environment Epa United

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has encouraged United Steel Company to complete work on its secondary and tertiary pollution filtration system to ensure that the over 400 workers laid off return to work.

The company shut down its two furnaces, on August 13, 2020, in line with a directive from the EPA when it could not meet the mid July deadline they had promised to complete the installation of the secondary and tertiary system to control the amount of pollution they emit.

The shutdown, management disclosed, led to the laying off of 400 workers due to their inability to continue paying their salaries, and operational taxes.

Dr Henry Kwabena Kokofu, Executive Director of the EPA, encouraging United Steel to complete the works by the end of October said his outfit was not interested in the collapse of companies and loss of jobs especially during the COVID-19 era but rather to ensure that the needed environmental standards were followed.

Dr Kokofu said this after paying a working visit to the company, and Rider Steel, MND Metal Works at the Freezone Enclave, as well as the GAMA Waste Treatment Plant at Bankuman in Tema Newtown.

The visit was a follow up on a similar visit made by Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, in June, this year to the companies to ascertain complains of air pollutions the Ministry had received from neighbouring companies.

He said, “it is not palatable to have the workers stay at home especially during this pandemic; it is also not good for you the investors and the economy. The pollution level must be within limits and I will encourage you to fix the problem, resume and call up the workers”.

He said even though every company must have their space in the industrial enclave to contribute towards the economy, it was right for them to visit the various companies to get firsthand information on the pollution complaints which he said came in daily.

Dr Kokofu stated that he would report back to the Minister that United Steel was not working adding that he would arrange a meeting between the management of the company, and MND which had been sending complaints of pollution against it to find a solution to the problem.

At Rider Steel, he urged the company to meet its end October deadline to complete ongoing installation of its secondary and tertiary filtration system saying his outfit would continue to monitor and measure the pollution level indicating that the needed sanctions would be applied when need be.

The company has shut down two of its three furnaces while it continues to put in place the needed standardized pollution control system in accordance with best international environmental practices, and the Ghana Standard for Environmental and Health Protection-Requirements for Ambient Air Quality and Point Sources Stack Emissions.

He said the EPA would not compromise the integrity of the environment and therefore charged the Agency’s staff in Tema to conduct frequent snap visits to the companies to monitor their activities.

Dr Kokofu stressed that even though the operations of the steel companies helped clean the country of scrap waste, the EPA would however not countenance environmental pollution.

Mr Fadi El Chami, Managing Director of United Steel Company, described as harsh the decision by the EPA directing them to shut down in August as according to him, even though a number of companies in the enclave were polluting the area, they had been allowed to operate.

The EPA Executive Director, therefore, directed his officials to investigate and provide his office with a detailed report on the said companies indicating that “it will be unfair to target only one company; our interest is that business must be done within the environmental laws. ”

He was accompanied by his deputy, acting Accra East regional director, officials from Tema office of the EPA, and Ghana Integrated Iron and Steel Development Corporation.

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