The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) has given Rider Steel Company Limited a one-week ultimatum to provide the Ministry with a roadmap to address its poor pollution management.
Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, the Minister, said failure of the Indian owned company to sit with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to draw a workable roadmap would lead to severe sanctions.
Prof. Frimpong-Boateng gave the order after paying an unannounced visit to four companies in the Tema Freezone Enclave. The other companies were United Steel Company, Success Aluminium Limited and MND Metals Company Limited.
The Minister expressed disappointment at the level of pollution the company spewed into the environment as dark smoke was seen billowing with metal dust, virtually choking and reducing visibility on the factory premises.
He said his outfit had received several reports from other companies in the enclave on the consistent and reckless manner in which pollutants were emitted into the air by Rider Steel which informed his decision to pay the surprise visit after sending some officials earlier to confirm.
He said it was urgent to get the road map from them as bad smoke was being emitted from their chimney, adding that he also observed that the chamber for the melting of the metals was also faulty.
“The filtration system is not working properly and the dust from the filter is not well collected as there is a leakage in the receptacle”.
He added that “I feel like closing the factory down, but apart from seeing that they are making efforts to change the filters, we are also not in normal times because of the COVID-19, they should sit with the EPA and bring a written roadmap for the correction of all the lapses”.
He reminded them that Ghana would not compromise on the pollution of her environment and the health of workers, adding that the volume of fumes and metal dusts in and around the company could lead to lung infections among the workers.
For the United Steel, he recounted how he sent his officials there, after some reports adding that he was however impressed with what he saw as there was tremendous improvement from the reports he received.
He however urged them to fully correct and contain smokes emanating from the back of the factory to other companies saying he would be back to inspect it.
Prof. Frimpong-Boateng said while he visited Success Aluminium to find out the effect of the operations of the steel companies on their operations, he realized that the company itself had issues with pollution as workers of the factory had fine metal dust coating their entire bodies.
He added that workers were also being housed on the premises which illegal, saying the relevant authorities would be contacted to ensure that the practice was stopped.
Mr TP Patnaik, General Manager of Rider Steel, responding to questions from the Minister, said they were in the process of changing their filters to prevent the level of pollution the entourage witnessed indicating engineers who were to work on the machines could not come into the country due to the COVID-19.