Following the movement of 14 January 2020, led by the inhabitants of Faj Rouissat in Kairouan against the impacts of the SOTACIB cement plant, which has been operating in the region since 2008, the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights (FTDES) began an advocacy campaign to defend the rights of this community to live in a healthy environment and in decent socio-economic conditions, which the plant continues to thwart.
Following the Forum’s January 18, 2020 communiqué denouncing the harmful effects of the petroleum coke used by the plant on the environment, agricultural activity and the health of the inhabitants, an exchange was initiated between the company’s management and the FTDES through the Business and Human Rights Resource Center (BHRRC), which sent an initial letter to the company’s management to transmit the FTDES communiqué and the community’s demands.
The response from the company was neither considered complete nor to not meet the demands of the movement, thus FTDES is sending a second letter in which it emphasizes the environmental and health dangers caused by the use of petroleum coke and reminds the plant of its duty to participate in the development of the community and the improvement of the living conditions of the inhabitants by improving the infrastructure (water, electricity, roads) and the creation of real sustainable development projects and not only charity actions.
In this letter, FTDES therefore calls on the plant to engage in a dialogue that will also include representatives of the community, the governorate of Kairouan and the National Agency for Environmental Protection. In addition, the FTDES reiterates the following requests:
– To rapidly improve the conditions of use and storage of petroleum coke;
– Initiate a transition to replace petroleum coke by an alternative process, which is less harmful to the environment and health;
– The publication of measurements of pollutant emissions, indicators of environmental impact on air, soil and water quality, measures taken to ensure the safety and health of workers and the results of health checks carried out by the plant on workers;
– Measuring and reducing the impact of mining explosions on surrounding homes;
– Giving priority to the inhabitants of Faj Rouissat when creating jobs;
– Participate in the development of the region and in the improvement of the infrastructure and living conditions of the inhabitants.
Open air storage of petcoke:
Cracks in ceilings: