Clinker invasion

Cement dust ovwerwhelms two pedestrians along Kalekana in Lami yesterday. Picture: JONA KONATACI

RESIDENTS of Kalekana settlement outside of Lami have voiced their concerns of having to inhale what they claim is dust from trucks transporting clinker to the cement factory located in the area. Most residents approached by this newspaper for comments spoke on condition of anonymity, claiming almost one from each family in the settlement worked at the cement factory and they feared victimisation.

One resident claimed she had to wash their eating utensils as many as four times a day as clinker dust constantly settled in their homes.

“I woke up this morning and found our dishes covered in clinker. I have two children at home and the younger one is just a few months old. I’m worried about their health,” the resident said.

“People here joke about me because almost every day they will see me cleaning our louvre windows because they’re always covered with clinker.”

When this newspaper visited the area, a man had just finished washing his vehicle after it was covered in clinker. He told this newspaper the transportation of clinker usually lasted for a week or two, and it was during this time that residents were intolerable.

Environment Minister Parveen Kumar said the department had yet to receive any formal complaint from the affected residents.

Mr Kumar urged the residents to write to the department. When contacted yesterday, general manager of Pacific Cement Ltd, Sowani Tuidrola confirmed the clinker belonged to PCL but the transportation of the product was the responsibility of Williams & Gosling Ltd.

When contacted last night, a staff member of W&G Ltd referred all questions to its contractor M.Y. Transport Company Ltd’s chief executive officer Aiyub Mohammed.

Mr Mohammed claimed the dust being complained about by residents was not clinker, but actually dust from the road.

“I have been doing this for the last 35 years, and PCL needs to fix its roads. “We cover the clinker properly, because if we don’t, the Land Transport Authority will book us. We follow all the rules in transporting clinker,” Mr Mohammed said.

“About 30 to 40 trucks transport clinker and they drive at 30 to 40 miles per hour to ensure clinker does not fly out.”