Health Ministry deny Hawamdiya contamination

Al-Masry Al-Youm revealed a new twist in the story of the alleged involvement of Egyptian Sugar and Integrated Industries Company in contaminating Nile water in Hawamdiya and infecting citizens with kidney, liver and cancer diseases. 

Samples were taken from the company’s industrial drain in Hawamdiya city by Al-Masry Al-Youm. Tests on the samples at Cairo University found heavy elements and highly poisonous chemicals exceeding international and locally permitted limits. 

The results of tests at the health ministry’s central laboratories were therefore surprising. The central labs categorically denied any violations in relation to the company’s industrial drain or potable water. They found the percentages of poisonous chemicals to be even lower than the maximum levels permitted. The results essentially ruled out the presence of any chemicals or heavy elements, with only a higher than normal amount of chemically and biologically absorbed oxygen. 

Magdi Allam, head of the Arab Federation for Youth and Environment, said that the health ministry was trying to deny responsibility for the issue. Article 3 of Law 48 for the year 1982 on Nile water protection stipulates that health ministry agencies must make periodical tests of samples of liquid waste at facilities allowed to drain their waste into the Nile. The article also requires the ministry to present a report to the irrigation ministry for the renewal or issuing of licenses. The ministry did not however follow this course, as evidenced by the continued activities of the sugar company factories. This means that the ministry has been covering up neglect resulting in the loss of Egyptian lives, despite its supposed role as the first agency responsible for protecting citizens and detecting potential risks to their lives. 

Tests on the samples conducted by the environment ministry in its own labs proved the health ministry’s involvement in concealing information about the poisons contained in Hawamdiya’s drinking water and about the sugar factory drain. The tests proved that the drain water contained venol and cadmium as well as zinc, all in percentages exceeding permissible levels. The environment ministry also filed reports against the Egyptian Sugar and Integrated Industries Company, the most recent of which was in mid-July, condemning the company’s actions and, by implication, the health ministry. 

The results of the health ministry tests on the drinking water stated that it contained no venol or cyanide, with nickel existing only in very small quantities. 

Meanwhile, Egyptian scientist Rashiqa el-Reidi, recipient of a UNESCO award in science, said that the steps followed by Al-Masry Al-Youm in obtaining its scientific evidence should refute any accusations that may be leveled by state agencies wishing to cast doubt on the tests’ accuracy. According to el-Reidi, the investigation conducted by Al-Masry Al-Youm can be considered integrated scientific research. El-Reidi added that the test results for the sugar company drain made sense as the company has more than one factory, including one for chemicals, which would answer for the existence of deadly chemical elements shown in the test results. 

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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