The production of cement is one of the most environmentally unfriendly practices in the world. During production, there re a number of environmental problems; CHEM. has a number of policies and procedures in place to combat their significant environmental impacts; but the damage to the environment and their negative impact on stakeholders is significant, and because of this, the benefits of Scheme’s positive contributions are often over shadowed. The case against CHEM.
.In 2006, CHEM. displayed a lack of commitment to stakeholders, when they were fined a record IEEE,OHO after hazardous cement kiln dust escaped the production plant in Rugby, and spread approximately seven tones of gizzards cement kiln dust across houses and cars up to five kilometers away (ENDS Report 2012).
This is not the only fine CHEM. has received due to violations of Air Quality Legislation. In 2008, CHEM. was fined $1. 5 million for five separate clean air act compliance issues at the production plant in Lyons (Miller 2009).
The release of toxins and particle matter is a contributing factor in ailments such as asthma, emphysema, heart disease and other respiratory conditions (Georges 2011). In a study of emissions from a Nigerian cement plant, high quantities of toxic heavy metals such as Nickel and Zinc were mound in the surrounding soil (Loyally, Linoleum 2009). The high levels of toxic heavy metals have the possibility of causing heavy metal poisoning. Heavy metals are absorbed by the body through air, food and through the skin. Once inside the body, they compete with and displace important minerals, causing system and organ failure (Medical Dictionary 2012).This has significant implications on the neighboring society, but also the employees at cement production plants, as they too are exposed to harmful toxic emissions that can have many adverse medical conditions.
The release of moment kiln dust does not only affect the human population surrounding production plants. As cement kiln dust contains many toxic elements; including heavy metals such as fluoride, magnesium, lead, cadmium, nickel, zinc, copper, beryllium, there are harmful effects on surrounding aquatic CEO systems.The toxic elements also have significant effects on flora and fauna due to the disturbance of metabolic compositions. Some species that are particularly sensitive to pollution cannot grow in areas with excessive cement kiln dust emissions; and are gradually becoming endangered in areas rounding cement production plants (ERDA, Demerits 2010).
This is a significant problem that CHEM. faces, as once a species are extinct; they cannot be replaced nor resurrected. The case for CHEM. In order to combat the problem of CA emissions, CHEM. has introduced a variety of strategies.As mentioned previously, the burning of fossil fuels in kilns is a large contributor to the total CA released. CHEM. has implemented the use of state of the art kilns; which heat using alternative fuels such as chipped trees, household Waste and biomass such as animal meals, sewage lugged and agricultural waste; all of which are deemed ‘carbon neutral’.
Total energy consumption has been reduced through the use of new technology, such as renewable sources, like wind turbines (CHEM. 2012).In 2000, CHEM.
reduced electrical consumption by 1 60,000 megawatts, which, with the combination of alternative fuels; reduced CA emissions by 263,000 tones (Wilson, Change 2003). CHEM. is now actively committed to reducing carbon emissions in order to achieve environmental sustainability, “We acknowledge the local and global challenges posed by climate change, and are committed o applying our skills, technologies, and determination to reduce the contribution of our operations and our industry to climate change” (CHEM. 2012).This commitment helps to satisfy the demand from society and stakeholders to reduce carbon emissions. The efforts of CHEM.
are commendable and will certainly help with the overall reduction of CA; however it is questionable whether or not the burning of alternative fuels is a sustainable solution. The European Commission and UN Intergovernmental Panel on climate change claim state that only biomass fuels such as wood or sewage sludge should be considered carbon neutral, and that the burning of trees and household waste may be worse than fossil fuels (ENDS Report 2008).This indicates that by burning alternative wastes such as trees and household waste, CHEM. is still contributing to the overall CA levels in the atmosphere, and may in fact be doing more harm than good. In order to combat the problem of air quality degradation, and keep relations with stakeholders positive, CHEM.
pledged to spend IIS$II million on pollution controls, aimed at reducing harmful emissions from its production plants and monitor major pollutants. They have also invested in new equipment to reduce air emissions at many of the fifty sites (CHEM. 2012).While this is commendable, it does not address the growing health concerns, due to the release of toxic cement kiln dust, of society surrounding the production plants and the many employees affected, nor does it address the possibility of heavy metal poisoning of employees and occupants of neighboring housing. As an organization promoting environmental sustainability, CHEM.
has a number of strategies to combat the problem of resource depletion and image to surrounding CEO systems.In plants across the United States, CHEM. has constructed water treatment facilities to recycle and reuse waste water. As a result of these facilities, approximately 84,000 elites of water are saved each year (Wilson, Change 2003). The protection and rehabilitation of surrounding CEO systems is one of Scheme’s main priorities. They understand that there are negative impacts on the environment through the production of cement and aggregate, but are working towards achieving sustainability.
CHEM. states that they recognize their access to raw materials and the ability o operate in any given locale is hugely dependent on their ability to effectively manage the land impacts and protect the biodiversity of the area. (CHEM.
2012). To achieve this goal, they have contributed to reforestation efforts in South America and the Caribbean. They have transformed exhausted limestone quarries into ‘green areas’ that are capable of sustaining wildlife (Wilson, Change 2003).CHEM. undertakes extensive research into the negative impacts on biodiversity in order to minimize the impact their production plants have on local flora and fauna (CHEM. 2012). There are also number of breeding facilities funded by CHEM., including the El Carmen Biological Reserve; which is the largest breeding facility in the world for desert bighorn sheep (Wilson, Change 2003).
Though the breeding programs are very beneficial, the damage to other species of animals through the production of cement cannot be rectified through the breeding of one of the affected animals.CHEM. can be commended for their efforts in promoting reforestation and protecting the natural biodiversity of the regions, but these programs would not be necessary if the environment was at the forefront of their agenda.
Conclusion The negative impacts on the environment from the production of cement and aggregate are significant and somewhat unavoidable, without major change. Environmental protection and sustainability is currently a very pressing and urgent social issue; and as such is a key element in ensuring large corporations, such as CHEM., satisfy the demands of society at large and in particular, their stakeholders.CHEM. is committed to reducing their carbon footprint and minimizing their impact on biodiversity through the various strategies discussed, including the use of alternative fuels instead of fossil eels, a pledge to spend money on improving the issue of air pollution and various strategies to repair the damage done to biodiversity neighboring the production plants.
While their efforts are commendable, the environmental funding and programs they have implemented do not outweigh the devastating environmental impacts caused both directly and indirectly by the production of cement.