Titan Cement lawsuit (re air pollution, Egypt)
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On 3 January 2016, residents of the Wadi al-Qamar area filed a lawsuit at the Egyptian Administrative Court challenging the use of coal by Alexandria Portland Cement Company (part of Titan Cement Egypt).
Titan Cement Egypt/Alexandria Portland is located in Wadi al-Qamar, in Western Alexandria. Some of the production facilities of the company are adjacent to residential areas, with less than 10 metres separating it from some houses. The North-West wind direction blows the factory' emissions to the residents' houses. For several years, residents have lodged complaints with the government and with the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO), the independent recourse mechanism for the International Finance Corporation (IFC) which provided funds to Titan Cement Egypt/Alexandria Portland to expand its cement manufacturing in Egypt. The residents complained primarily about the gas and dust emissions from the company's kilns. Residents are now under a more egregious threat as a result of the company's decision to use coal instead of natural gas as its energy source.
The lawsuit requests the court to annul the decision of the Prime Minister to amend the Executive Regulations of the Environment Law, which allowed for the use of coal in residential areas, in "cases of necessity and where it serves the public good", removing the older blanket prohibition. The claim also requests the invalidation of the decision to allow Titan Cement Egypt/Alexandria Portland to use coal in its cement production. The legal submissions, published by the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, claim that the decision violates various provisions of the Egyptian Constitution, the Environment Law and binding international agreements, and must therefore be annulled. The submissions also claim that the decision lacks a "reason" as required by Egyptian Administrative Law, exhibits signs of "administrative perversion," and do not serve the public good.
Titan Cement Egypt maintains that it made investments of EGP 451 million, which contributed to dramatically reducing dust emissions, below legally specified standards and even below the European standards. The company stated that it tasked an independent third party with implementation of an environmental and social impact assessment before converting to the use of coal. According to Titan Cement Egypt, an investigations committee formed by the Ministry of Environment found that recorded health cases are within the average range of the country.
On 18 January 2018, the Dekhelia Misdemeanor Court of Alexandria held that the company was responsible for causing environmental pollution and health damage among Wadi al-Qamar residents. The company appealed the decision. On 21 March 2018, the appellate court upheld the 18 January judgement.
- Titan Cement in Wadi al-Qamar convicted of causing environmental and health harm, Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, 25 March 2018
- In response to lawsuit, Environment Minister says coal is being used within strict measures, Menan Khater, Daily News Egypt, 12 Jan 2016
- Lawsuit against Titan Cement Factory in Alexandria for using coal, Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, 11 Jan 2016