CAIRO: “The minister of environment’s claims about the negative impact of using coal as a fuel source do not rely on any scientific evidence,” Tarek Eid, professor of environmental science and industrial pollution at the Arab Academy for Science and Technology, said during an interview on Al-Arabiya TV channel Sunday.
On March 19, Minister of Environment Laila Iskander had said that using coal in factories was dangerous to the economy, tourism, and the people’s health, El-Balad news website had reported.
“Egypt imports thousands of tons of coal per day for the production of iron,” Eid said, denying that using coal in factories as a source of fuel may cause cancer.
Eid added that coal should be used as an energy source on condition that factories are built away from residential areas, adding that pollution from coal was not worse than pollution from petrol and diesel.
Environmental expert Ezzat Abdel Hamid, had told The Cairo Post the use of coal as fuel was damaging to the atmosphere.
He said the government should find alternative sources of energy, adding that Egypt should turn to nuclear power by importing safe reactors to alleviate risks.
Conversely, Omar Mehana, a member of the Federation of Industries, stressed the need to use coal to push forward the construction sector in Egypt.
He told The Cairo Post cement factories operated at 50 percent of their capacity during recent years and blamed the economic policy adopted during Mubarak’s regime for the notable decline in the industry and soaring cement prices.