NEMA suspends operations of Pramukh steel plant over pollution

The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) has halted the operations of Pramukh Steel Limited (steel manufacturing and power generation plants) located along Kayunga road in Njeru Municipality, Buikwe District. The suspension follows several complaints from the public over air pollution from the two plants.

A team of NEMA inspectors together with officials from Njeru Municipal Council visited the facility on Saturday, October 22, 2022, and found that the plants did not have adequate air pollution controls and there were several health and safety concerns as well.

Air pollution in this case was in the form of black ash arising from burning of bagasse at the power generation plant and pungent fumes from the steel furnaces that were being openly released into the environment and had become a nuisance to the surrounding communities.

The health and safety issues noted included the lack of personal protective equipment(PPE) for the workers handling scrap metal particularly at the receiving yard and the steel furnaces, lack of signage and proper walkways at the plants, and there was evidence of injured workers on site.

Njeru Municipal Council had previously written to Pramukh Steel Limited over the concerns of air pollution and had held several meetings with the entity to address the concerns in vain. As a consequence, a stop notice has been issued to Pramukh Steel Limited halting the operations of all the production lines that contribute to pollution of the air (the power plant and steel manufacturing plant) with immediate effect.

The suspension will remain in force until appropriate air pollution controls have been put in place and all the health and safety concerns that were identified during the inspection have been addressed to NEMA’s satisfaction.

Notes to Editor
Section 128 of the National Environment Act, No.5, 2019 provides for powers and duties of environmental inspectors to; …
(i) close any manufacturing plant or stop any other activity or seize any equipment, vehicle or vessel which pollutes or is likely to pollute the environment …
(j) issue an environmental improvement notice or environmental compliance notice requiring the operator of any manufacturing plant or other activity to cease any ac-tivity deleterious to human health or the environment …