The EPA with support from the Police, on Friday closed down the Empire Cement Factory at McCarthy Hills in Accra, for operating without permit
OFFICIALS OF the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Friday stormed the premises of the Chinese-owned Empire Cement Factory near McCarthy Hill, to halt construction.
This came after protests from McCarthy Hill residents and Panbros Salt Industries who raised concerns over the long-term environmental and health implication of the factory sited near a salt mine and surrounded by human settlements.
In an operation carried out by a security task force that included police officers, workers on site were moved out of the premises before key installations on the premises were locked up.
Unhappy artisans protested the directive with agitations of unpaid salaries and displacement since most of the artisans were imported from neighbouring countries and camped on the premises.
Owners of the property, communicating through their interpreters, however, urged the workers to abide by the EPA directive.
In an interview, a member of the Intelligence Unit at EPA, Emmanuel Opoku, said the EPA acted when it realised that the factory was constructed without due recourse to the environmental laws of the country.
The factory, located within the Weija-Gbawe Municipal Assembly, he said, had refused an invitation extended by the EPA for the owners to explain to the agency the reasons for siting such a facility at the location without a permit.
“We couldn’t just apprehend them and so we sent a letter but no one accepted the letter and so we have to paste it on their entrance and they decided to destroy the letter. So based on that, our superiors have asked us to shut it down.
The President of the McCarthy Hill Residents Association, Eddie Quaynor, expressed joy over the exercise and said “it was long overdue” as owners of the factory had failed to heed directives from various state agencies including the Parliamentary Select Committee on Environment, Science and Technology.
The committee, on June 11, 2021, visited the salt mine and the cement factory to get first-hand information on the situation that was brought to its attention by Panbros Salt Industries.
In an interview, the chairman of the committee, Dr. Emmanuel Marfo said, “For now we have been told they only have a permit to do cement bag production but there is a process to do bagging of cement. What is in contention is whether they will get a permit to bag cement and EPA is the authority that gives the final permission.
Meanwhile, the task force has apprehended some individuals on-site to assist with investigations.
By Issah Mohammed