By Sara Aggour
Egyptian construction companies are increasingly aware of their responsibility to preserve the environment, according to recent statistics.
According to a report published by McKinsey and Company in 2010, the Egyptian share of the world emission of carbon dioxide was 0.7%, in which the construction and cement production industry were among the largest producers. Combined, they produced 22% of the total CO2 air releases which consequently affect the Egyptian climate.
In 2012, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) declared that Egypt was one of seven countries to reduce their cement production by 6%. The McKinsey scientific report also predicted that the percentage of CO2 emissions from the construction and cement sectors in Egypt will be reduced to 19% by 2030.
Several companies are participating in initiatives to reduce environmental damage by utilising new technologies and environment-friendly production plans.
Some are investing in the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) under the Kyoto protocol, with the collaboration of the Ministry of State for Environmental Affairs (MSEA) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. CEMEX EGYPT was among the first to join the programme, and it succeeded in reducing CO2 emissions.
The company aims to reduce CO2 emissions with the help of the CDM project and to substitute up to half of total fuel requirement with alternative fuels in the near future.
Additionally, sources confirmed that CEMEX Egypt will replace their current electrostatic filters with newly developed eco-friendly baghouse filters by 2014.
CEMEX Egypt maintains constant measuring and monitoring of all dust and gas emissions at their plant in Assiut. The company also prepares analysis and reports on monthly basis to ensure continuous improvement of emissions reductions.
The CDM project aims to switch the heavy fuel oil used in plants to alternative fuels produced from industrial as well as agricultural waste, including rice straw.
Participants in the CDM initiative are gradually rewarded with the Certified Emissions Reductions (CER) certificate which affirms their contributions towards reducing the release of harmful gases.
Since several companies’ interest in the CDM investment dates from the mid-2000s, in 2008 Egypt was listed as one of the top 15 countries to invest and encourage the use of cleaner development mechanisms by Point Carbon.
Another cement company that has shown positive environmental progress is Suez Cement, one of the largest cement-producing companies in Egypt. On World Environment Day the company was rewarded by Khaled Fahmy, the Minister of Environmental Affairs, with “The Greenest Company in Egypt” certificate.
Ahmed Said, the company’s external relations manager, discussed how the company is keen to participate in the environment’s protection. “All our cement plants are ISO 1400, IS0 9001 and OHSAS 18001 certified, we adopt and strictly comply with the environmental laws of Egypt,” he said.
Said explained that the company is participating in the Go Green initiative with the MSEA, adding “Suez Cement invested more than EGP 500m for environmental-related projects… Several major projects were also completed and successfully implemented in the area of pollution abatement and emission control. In cooperation with the MSEA and the World Bank, Suez Cement Company launched the Environment Pollution Abatement Project (EPAP) which was implemented in the Kattameya, Suez, Tourah and Helwan plants.”
Titans Cement is another company pursuing an environmental policy. The executive vice president of Titans Cement, Medhat Stephanos, said the company follows international standards and regulations for environmental protection. ”We recently changed all filters in our factories in order to limit the emission of gases,” Stephanos said.
Stephanos also announced that the company was negotiating with the government to be able to use coal as a supplement to natural gas. “We are currently discussing the means of transportation and ports we can use to switch from gas to coal,” he said.
“At the moment, the Egyptian ministries are putting down the industrial and environmental regulations the new project requires,” he said.