‘Stop emitting soot’ – Environment director issues prohibition notice to sugar mill

Cane lorries wait in line at the Labasa FSC Mill. Picture: FT FILE/LUKE RAWALAI

The Environment Department had given the Fiji Sugar Corporation’s Labasa mill 14 days from August 11 to submit an air pollution management plan to stop emitting black soot into the atmosphere.

Environment director Sandeep Singh signed the prohibition order on August 11 before it was delivered to the FSC chief executive officer Bhan Singh.

“It has been brought to the Department of Environment’s attention that Fiji Sugar Corporation has breached the Environment Management Act 2005 and the Environment Management (Waste Disposal and Recycling) Regulations 2007 by emitting black soot from the Labasa Sugar Mill into the atmosphere,” Ms Singh stated in the prohibition order.

On July 31, 2019, the Environment Department issued FSC a Waste Disposal Permit which called on FSC to submit to the environment director for approval a revised Air Pollution Management Plan within 21 days from the receipt of the permit.

“The plan must show all emissions from the premises within three years from the issuance date of the permit, comply with the national air quality standards of the Environment Management (Waste Disposal and Recycling) Regulations 2007,” it said.

“In view of the above and exercising the power conferred upon me by section 21(2) of the Environment Management Act 2005, Fiji Sugar Corporation is hereby prohibited from emitting black soot from Labasa Sugar Mill into the atmosphere which may not be within the National Air Quality Standards as stipulated under the Environment Management (Waste Disposal and Recycling) Regulations 2007.”

FSC is now required to submit to the Department of Environment its air quality data from point source within 14 days from the issuance of this notice.

“Note that under section 21(4) of the Environment Management Act 2005, a person who fails to comply with a prohibition notice commits an offence.”

FSC has the right to appeal if they feel aggrieved by the prohibition notice.

Questions sent yesterday to Mr Singh and Sugar Ministry permanent secretary Yogesh Karan on the issue remained unanswered when this edition went to press.

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