NEMA stops BAT from burning tobacco

THE National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) has stopped British American Tobacco (BAT) from incinerating over 200 tonnes of tobacco as a measure against releasing more toxic gases into the air.

Grace Birikadde, an official from NEMA said, the fire outbreak over the weekend at a warehouse at Kyambogo left residues containing partially burnt tobacco and ashes.

He said BAT was proposing to incinerate the residues, but were curtailed since Tobacco contained nicotine, which released organic pollutants, some of which were cancerous.

“When incinerated, tobacco releases out a lot of hazardous gases,” said Birikadde.

“The best option would be to landfill since tobacco is organic and can undergo decomposition.”

Asked about the fumes, engulfed parts of Banda, Mbuya and Kireka following the fire that gutted the tobacco store on Friday night and Saturday morning, Birikadde said, “we must realise that it was an accident. Yes, emissions have gone into the air, but it was not easy to stop this.”

He added, that “there was also exposure, but this was not acute since it was not continuous.”

Solomon Muyita, BAT’s spokesperson, confirmed that they had agreed with NEMA’s recommendations and that BAT was looking for land where the waste would be deposited.

“We have already met NEMA and burning is out of question because of environmental implications,” Muyita said yesterday.

He added, “We have been working hand-in-hand with NEMA, Kampala City Council and the National Water and Sewerage Corporation to address the environmental concerns.”

Muyita said another meeting was expected today (Monday) with NEMA to look at disposal grounds.

source: newvision.co.ug

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