Widely criticized for its smog and congestion, despite its central, green “lung” – the Al-Azhar park – Cairo is desperate to clean up its city. As it turns out, entrenched as industries are, that is no easy feat. The Cairo 2050 “Cleaner, Greener, Better” plan has already ruffled resident feathers as thousands will be forced out their homes. Now the Helwan Governorate intends to relocate industrial polluters too, a good thing, at their own expense, a little more tricky.
Fair enough, cement producers in Helwan are one of the major contributors to air, soil, and water pollution, such that re-positioning them outside of densely-populated areas is ultimately a positive and constructive move.
Al-Masry Al-Youm reports:
In coordination with the Ministry of State for Environmental Affairs, Ministry of Trade and Industry, and the Industrial Development Authority, 93 such industries and 250 brick factories will be relocated over eight years.
At a cost of billions of Egyptian pounds, the exact number of which authorities declined to predict, the relocation to Kuraymat, perhaps, in the Upper Egyptian governorate Beni Suef, will take place in two different phases starting in 2011.
Polluters are being held accountable for their own relocation costs. This has caused some dissension among factory owners, Amr Assal, president of the Industrial Development Authority, told Al-Masry Al-Youm.
25% of the cement producers will be moved during the first phase, while the rest, including large iron and steel companies, coal, ceramic and brick factories, starch and amylum processing plants, and yeast-fermentation industries, will be moved between 2015 and 2018.
While the move will go a long way toward lifting some of Cairo’s smothering air pollutants, though congestion adds significantly to that problem, one hopes that these businesses will also be encouraged to improve their environmental standards in their new home.
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