Egypt punishes open burning of waste by 1 year in prison, fine

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Mon, 28 Dec 2020 - 12:20 GMT

Black Clouds in Egypt - Reuters

Black Clouds in Egypt - Reuters

CAIRO – 28 December 2020: Any person who will violate the law that ban open burning of waste will be punished by imprisonment of one year and a fine.

 

The fine, according to Article 20 in the law, is estimated between L.E. 50,000 and L.E. 1 million. Violators might get both punishments: imprisonment and fine.

 

Open burning of waste is a way of getting rid of unwanted combustible materials such paper, wood, plastics, textiles, rubber, waste oils and other debris in open-air or in open dumps, where smoke is released directly into the air and polluting it.

 

Black Clouds is a recurring phenomenon in Egypt that happens each fall due to burning excess rice straw after harvesting the crop, which results in thick black smoke blanketing the skies for a while.

 

The black clouds are also caused by natural factors, including thermal reflection, as well as human factors such as emissions from vehicles and factories.

 

The ministry’s plan to control air pollution depends on four pillars, including collecting and recycling rice straw in coordination with Ministry of Agriculture, where equipment for chopping, pressing as well as tractors were made available at subsidized prices to be used by farmers and youths. 

 

"The ministry aims to collect between 500 to 1,000 tons of rice straw this season," said Abdel Wahid, the head of Crisis and Disaster Management department at the Ministry of Environment.

 

Abdel Wahid added that there is a huge turnout on opening sites to collect rice straw this year, where the ministry received 500 requests thus far.

 

Several controls were set for rice straw collection, in order to ensure no environmental problem occurs. For instance, the site should be close to a water surface, far from residential areas and electricity transmission plants, and a series of campaigns to raise farmers’ awareness about the importance of the process should be launched. 

 

The ministry further continues to inspect industrial facilities polluting the environment in a bid to reduce the emissions.

 

The ministry revealed that the recurring air pollution has been reduced over the past 2 years as per the national strategy, which diagnosed the problem according to its causes, where burning agricultural waste represents 42 percent; factory emissions 23 percent; car exhaust 23 percent and burning of municipal waste 12 percent.

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