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28 Sahab industries referred for ‘health, environment breaches’

By Hana Namrouqa - Aug 29,2017 - Last updated at Aug 29,2017

With a population of some 110,000 people, Sahab is home to more than 400 factories, in addition to 40 workshops (File photo)

AMMAN — The Ministry of Environment has referred 28 industries in Sahab Municipality to the prosecutor general for alleged health and environment breaches, officials said on Tuesday.

Under an ongoing “intensified” inspection campaign on industries and vocational workshops in Sahab, located 16km southeast of the capital, the ministry has recorded several alleged breaches that endanger Sahab’s public health and environment , the officials at the ministry said.

“The ministry’s inspectors visited 48 industries in Sahab to check on environment violations. A total of 28 industries have been referred to the prosecutor general for legal action since April, when the new Environment Protection Law went into force,” Minister of Environment Yaseen Khayyat said.

The minister underscored that stiffer inspection and penalties against violators have been introduced under the new law.

“The law has annulled gradual punishment of violators…, now those who violate the law are instantly referred for legal action,” Khayyat noted.

The facilities referred to the prosecutor general are industrial, vocational, service and agricultural industries, according to ministry’s spokesperson Isa Shboul, who said that the alleged violations entailed causing air and noise pollution, operating without a licence and improper disposal of waste, among other infringements.

Enforced since late April, the new law maximises governmental control over the Kingdom’s natural resources, with new articles added to the bill to keep up with the latest developments in the sector, given that the first environmental protection law was issued over a decade ago, according to the ministry.

The new law stipulates stricter penalties against polluters and abusers of the environment and links the amount of fines to the impact of the violation, according to the ministry.

The law contains articles on electronic, chemical, hazardous and prohibited waste, management of mineral oils as well as ozone-depleting materials. It also encourages green investments, intensifies monitoring of industries and enhances the protection of natural resources, including water resources and forests.

The ministry, which is intensifying its inspection campaign on Sahab’s industries to curb pollution levels, announced the setting up of a new environment directorate in the municipality as part of efforts to address its longstanding environment problems.

With a population of some 110,000 people, Sahab is home to more than 400 factories, in addition to 40 workshops that grind and shred scrap plastic located in residential areas.

It is also home to the King Abdullah II Industrial Estate, which is one of the largest industrial estates in the Kingdom.

In June last year, the municipality called on the government to relocate an industrial zone which, it said, is damaging the town’s environment and affecting the residents’ health.

 

The zone stretches over 150-200 dunums and houses 400 stone quarries and brick factories. It was set up 25 years ago when the area was vacant, but now the city surrounds the vocational zone, which is a major source of air pollution, according to Sahab municipality.

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