Some residents in Lami have sought legal opinion from the Fiji Environmental Law Association on the concerns that they have been raising on the clinker ship and cement factories that are emitting dust into the air while the Permanent Secretary for Environment, Joshua Wycliffe says the residents are welcome to lodge material evidence establishing the clinker dust deposit on their cars.
The residents that fijivillage has been speaking to, are gathering evidence on the effects on the people and the environment. They are gathering evidence on how clinker is being washed off which then goes into the waters and drains, clinker dust on the road when the trucks are transporting the clinker to the factories and the dust from the factories affecting the residents.
Repeated inhalation of cement clinker dust over a long period of time increases the risk of developing lung diseases.
Lami resident Sydel Whippy says they have been raising issues for a while now and since there is no or very little response from the authorities and the cement companies, they have taken this step as they are worried about what they are breathing in.
Whippy says they have done this as they want to know where they stand at the moment in terms of fighting for their health.
She says it is so bad now as they have dust settling on their cars which cannot be removed with just the use of water.
Another Lami resident, Johnathan Smith says urgent action is needed as people are breathing in the clinker dust.
Smith says the answer is to have properly sealed containers to transport the clinker and the best international standards need to be enforced to protect the people and the environment.
Meanwhile Sydel Whippy says the Permanent Secretary for Environment, Joshua Wycliffe has responded and has told her that he is looking into the issues raised.
Whippy also says they will continue to raise concerns about the damage to the environment.
When contacted by fijivillage, Wycliffe says the team is undertaking investigative measures but strictly subjective to the existing COVID measures and is not operating as under normal times.
He says if and when a breach is established, the Department of Environment will take action, as it has done always.
The Ministry had earlier issued the notice to the two companies as they had suspected that the dust emitted from the operations may not be of national air quality standards.
A trial period allowing for the regular monitoring of emission levels was done and the ministry’s technical team has reviewed the readings from the tests from both factories.
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