Clean up warning to some Bahrain factories
Manama, October 18, 2009
Factories in a major industrial zone in Bahrain could soon be forced to close if they don't clean up their act.
The decision comes under a new zoning plan by the Municipalities and Agriculture Affairs Ministry to turn the Hidd Industrial Area into an environmental-friendly zone.
It was approved by the Muharraq Municipal Council, who said that the move would help reduce the amount of harmful emissions from heavy industries in the area that affect residents in surrounding neighbourhoods.
It will now go back to the Municipalities and Agriculture Affairs Minister Dr Juma Al Ka'abi for final approval.
Once the new classification goes ahead, then the existing factories will be given a grace period to introduce new technologies that take into consideration protecting the environment, before taking action to close them down.
Only small and medium enterprises will be allowed to open in the future and licensing will be carried out in co-operation with the Industry and Commerce Ministry.
'We are very happy that the ministry has finally managed to come up with a new classification to the Hidd Industrial Area, after years of continuous efforts,' said area councillor Sameer Khadim.
'A lot of people have been affected by emissions from factories there, but the government turned a deaf ear to our demands, saying that all industries there were needed for the development of the country.
'We never asked for their closure, all we wanted was that they spent some money on new technologies that would make factories environment-friendly.'
Khadim said that new permits for factories would become stricter, with only small and medium industries being allowed to open.
'This is something that will help strike a balance between industrial development and ensure that people breathe clean air,' he said.
'We will co-operate with the Industry and Commerce Ministry on whatever licences are to be issued in future.'
The government has already given go-ahead for two controversial cement factories in the area last year, while Bahrain struggled to offset the effects of a cement shortage.
This is despite residents' demonstrations, which have taken place for three months over the past year.
The Public Commission for the Protection of Marine Resources, Environment and Wildlife is already supplying the council with reports every two months on the conditions of existing factories.-TradeArabia News Service