Residents stage protest against cement factories
April 10, 2021 3:20 pm
Residents along the Lami corridor today protested against the two cement factories in the area, claiming their health is at risk.
Protestors claim the dust emitting from these factories and the transportation of clinkers has been affecting them for more than 20 years.
Lami resident, Sydel Whippy says multiple communities between Namuka-I-Lau and Nadonumai are at risk.
Whippy says the stop-work orders have not been effective and they are now demanding the factories to provide answers.
“Yes we do have asthmatic cases, we do have red eyes, watery eyes, we do have skin irritations and at the moment all the Lami residents are blaming the cement factory. What we want the factories to do is tell us that it’s not their fault.”
Prohibition notices were issued to the two cement companies last month by the Minister of Environment for failing to comply with environmental requirements.
The residents had raised concerns that the dust being emitted from the factories does not meet the standards.
The notices were then issued on this suspected issue.
Another protestor, Christine Mallavu who lives in the Samoan Settlement says the atmosphere in their settlement is hazardous.
“I think forty families so that would be around hundred-plus families that live in my community. Some of them are not aware that they are affected but I believe one way or the other they are affected by it cause we are the closest community living beside these two factories.”
The residents have raised issues that measures taken by the Ministry of Environment and the businesses have not been effective in reducing the pollution caused by the transportation of clinkers.
More than 150 gathered in Lami this morning, showing placards and demanding the factories to stop the pollution.
The Police had to stop the protest because the residents did not have any permits.
Spokesperson Savaira Tabua says they questioned the organizer and after giving advice to her she was released.
Permanent Secretary for Environment Joshua Wycliff says they have ensured that when the companies take the clinker from the port they must keep within speed limits and adhere to all traffic requirements
Wycliff says if any vehicles are found in breach, immediate steps will be taken to stop them. He says there could be errors and they will intervene if breaches are detected.