Within the framework of the universal periodic review convoys
Maat calls for an end to violations of the right to health of Helwan citizens
Cement factory and Siegwart factory exhausts increase cancer incidence in neighboring areas
Maat Foundation for Peace and Development is following up on the implementation of the Egyptian government's commitments in the universal periodic review, and within the framework of this follow-up, the Foundation monitored the suffering of the people of Helwan, Cairo Governorate, from the pollution resulting from the Tora cement factories and the Segwart factory, as it is noticeable that these factories are located in overcrowded areas and are exposed daily According to the report of the World Health Organization issued in November 2011, in which it confirmed that the exhausts of these factories resulting from chimneys and cement factories are among the most dangerous sources of air pollution that lead to respiratory diseases such as asthma and lung cancer.
Note that Environmental Affairs Law No. 4 of 1994 and amended by Law No. 9 of 2009 sets a number of special requirements to protect the environment from air pollution, including that the area between the industrial facility and the nearest population presence should not be less than 20 km, which is not available where these factories are located inside A large residential compound, and the law sets specific percentages for any emissions coming out of the factory that should not be exceeded.
Measurements of falling dust over the Helwan area showed that the Tora cement factory in the northern sector of Helwan city was throwing approximately (582 grams / square meter / month) over the two shaykhs of Al-Mahatta and Al-Balad’s mill, as well as the two shaykhs of Al-Mahatta and Al-Balad’s mill, as well as the two sikhs of Tara Al-Hitt until the borders of Al-Zahra and the first shiyakha from May 15 Just off the station winepress. What exceeds the maximum permissible limit is two and a half to three times the maximum permissible limit.
This has led to an increase in the percentage of cancerous diseases in the city recently among citizens. This is depending on the number of death reports approved by the Al-Maasara Health Office, Al-Balad, Al-Mahatta, and Helwan due to the high rate of pollution resulting from the Tora Cement Factory, as well as the pollution resulting from the Segwart factory, especially asbestos, which is the raw material that the factory uses in the manufacture of cement pipes. Which is the main cause of crystalline cancer of the respiratory system and lungs
Reports issued by the oncology institutes accredited by the health bureaus stated that most of the lung cancer deaths of Helwan residents are due to inhaling air contaminated with asbestos for several years.
In the context of the Foundation’s interest in this matter, the Foundation visited the areas of al-Maasara and Ezbet Abu Dahroug in Helwan, and a large number of citizens in these areas complained of the damage they were exposed to as a result of inhaling the volatile factory dust, explaining that as a result of the presence of factories within the urban space several years ago, There are many cases of asthma, bad breath, pneumonia, and chronic chest allergies, especially among children. Residents indicated that the trees planted next to these factories as a natural filter were also affected and their leaves and branches dried up, especially fruit trees.
The residents explained that despite the Ministry of Environment stipulating the installation of filters in the factories, they did not feel any improvement in installing modern-style filters to reduce the darkness and dust produced by cement factories' kilns. In the same regard, a resident who works as a technician who installs filters in a cement factory referred to That despite the installation of these filters, the real damage is caused to the people at night, as some of the ovens are turned on at night, and these are ovens that are deactivated during the day because they do not comply with the environmental requirements, and one of the residents explained that the environment and health committees that come to this factory are known when they will come. What makes factories work to remove the effects of using those furnaces that are not suitable for environmental requirements so that they are not monitored by officials.
In light of this and in accordance with Egypt's international undertakings, which it pledged to the Human Rights Council in Geneva during Egypt's submission to the Universal Periodic Review in 2014, in which Egypt accepted 223 recommendations, among which was Recommendation No. 166-267, which stipulates that Egypt “intensify its efforts towards To the realization of economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to health.
From the above, the Maat Foundation appeals to the members of Parliament, the Prime Minister, the Minister of Health, the Minister of Industry, the Minister of Environment, and the Governor of Cairo, in the following: -
First: Performing supervision over these factories with the aim of ensuring that they meet the environmental requirements necessary for this
Second: The government set a time plan to move these factories and others outside the population bloc, as a fundamental solution to the problem while preserving workers' rights within those factories.
Third: Providing appropriate medical equipment in hospitals in the Helwan region to help them treat those affected by these effects of pollution, especially those with cancerous diseases.
Fourth: Encouraging factories to fulfill their societal responsibilities towards the citizens of the Helwan region in the fields of health, housing and education.