Dar es Salaam. The National Environment Management Council (NEMC) yesterday closed down indefinitely country’s biggest cement producer —Tanzania Portland Cement Company (TPCC) — over environmental pollution.
TPCC trades as Twiga.
NEMC senior legal officer Heche Suguta told The Citizen on Saturday on phone that the factory was also required to pay Sh50 million in penalty.
He said NEMC had established that the factory was discharging a huge amount of dust which was bad for the environment and the people surrounding the plant.
“We have several times asked the factory management to work out this shortcoming but have not taken any step to mitigate the problem,” he said.
TPCC produces nearly half of cement produced by three major factories in the county and its closure is likely to spark fear of a sharp rise in cement prices.
According to 2013 statistics, TPCC produces 1.4 million tonnes of cement out of 3 million tonnes the country can produce.
The remaining 1.6 million tonnes are shared among Mbeya Cement Company and Tanga Cement Company. Yesterday, Mr Suguta said previously, the TPCC had four chimneys to emit pollutants but three broke down and the factory was using only one outdated chimney.
He said the remaining one chimney was overwhelmed.
“The industry will be allowed to resume the operation only after sorting out the problem by controlling dust,”
He said the NEMC had been receiving complaints from residents surrounding the area that the dust from the plant was causing headache and respiratory problems.
“If they disobey this order we will arrest their managing director and other stern legal action will be follow,” he said.
Speaking to journalists on Thursday, the TPCC managing director and area manager for East Africa, Mr Alfonso Rodriguez, said the dust was coming from an old plant after the filter of the new plant got a technical fault.
He said they had ordered the new filter which might take a month to arrive in the country.