A report compiled by the University of Stuttgart and commissioned by the Irish firm, Ecocem, which finds that cement causes massive environmental damage has prompted a furious backlash from the Cement Manufacturers of Ireland.
The highly contentious report, which has not been made available to the wider public, finds that the manufacture of cement caused €2.1bn of environmental and health costs in the decade up to 2012. The impact on human health amounted to €450m over that period.
“Although a large range of pollutants is emitted in cement manufacture, the main pollutants contributing to the negative impacts are carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxides and particulate matter.
“The impacts on human health include chronic respiratory disease, reduced lung functions or lung cancer, heart disease, and even damage to the brain, nerves, liver, or kidneys, all leading to reduced life expectancy in those affected,” claimed the report.
Ecocem, which is a manufacturer of green cement, commissioned the Institute of Energy Economics and the Rational Use of Energy at the University of Stuttgart, to compile the study.
However, the CMI complains that only selected highlights of the report have been made public, yet the report itself has not been distributed.
Donal O’Riain, founder and managing director of Ecocem, said that if the CMI requests to see the report, then “he would be happy to hand over a copy and sit down with them to discuss the results.”
A spokesperson for the CMI said it, “absolutely and emphatically rejects any claim that the operations of its members have a significant negative impact on human health and the environment in Ireland.
“CMI members’ production plants all operate under licences issued by the Environmental Protection Agency to European and International Standards designed to fully protect human health and the environment.”
When highlights of the University of Stuttgart report were released last week, it was posted on an Enterprise Ireland website, envirocentre.ie. However, the post was taken down within 24 hours.
A spokesman for Enterprise Ireland said a decision was made to withdraw the post because both Ecocem and members companies of the CMI are clients of EI. Consequently, the agency wanted to be fair to both sides, he said.
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