Nile pollution reaches the courts

The Summary Court of Imbaba passed on Saturday the first ever verdict against factory owners that dump their industrial waste into the Nile.

The court sentenced Sherif Mahmoud el-Sayed and Mohamed Ali Thabet, managers of the two branches of the Nile Company for Food Industries, better known as Enjoy, to one year in prison on a conviction of dumping industrial waste into the Nile in the Imbaba district of Giza.

Minister of State for Environment Affairs Maged George said that the verdict is in accordance with national environment law. George said the ministry discovered the violations during a surprise inspection and referred the violators for an urgent trial.

In statements to the press on Saturday, George said that the ministry’s inspection campaigns had revealed that the company was dumping its waste into the Sero ditch and violating environment codes. The ministry ordered the halting of industrial drainage and referred the violators to prosecution, the minister added.

The minister also ordered the continuing inspection of industrial sites and monitoring of industrial drainage canals and ditches that discharge into the Nile until such illegal activities are halted.

Meanwhile, patients in Damietta who suffer renal failure due to contaminated Nile water are taking their problem to court. Representatives from non-governmental organizations are visiting the Lawyers Syndicate head in Damietta to map out legal procedures needed to get the renal failure cases to sign proxies. Once the patients have proxies, they plan to sue officials in the Ministries of Water Resources and Irrigation, the Ministry of State for Environment Affairs, and the Ministry of State for Family and Population.

Gamal Eddin Abdel Hamid, head of the Consumer Protection Association in Damietta, said that the activists had already gathered the signatures of several citizens suffering from renal failure. Officials in the three ministries will be sued for allowing companies to dump their waste into the Nile, and covering up statistics on the pollution of the Nile and real numbers of renal failure patients, Abdel Hamid said.

Abdel Hamid added that representatives from syndicates and political parties will attend the meeting at the Lawyers Syndicate.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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