Following an outcry from the community about flouting of rules, the management of tile manufacturer, Sunny Yi Feng in Norton, has pledged environmental compliance.
Briefing Environment Minister, Hon. Mangaliso Ndlovu who was accompanied by Minister of State for Mashonaland West Province Mrs. Mary Mliswa Chikoka at a tour organised on the behest of Norton legislator, Temba Mliswa, an officer from the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) commended Sunny Yi Feng Tiles for having in place an environmental impact assessment (EIA) but was quick to point out that the document did not address the company’s expansion into the manufacturing of roofing tiles.
“The manufacturing of roofing tiles is not part of the EIA certificate the Sunny Yi Feng Tiles has. The company’s effluent management is quite poor in that it disposed of the effluent directly into the environment. The management indicates the left and turns right. This factory needs continuous monitoring. It’s unfortunate that Sunny Yi Feng is emptying the contents of its septic tank into the environment. Community members in Norton and Chegutu are also complaining about air pollution,” the EMA representative said.
The company was urged to liaise with the local community to find ways of a sustainable waste recycling business.
Mrs Mliswa Chikoka urged the company to engage registered players when extracting sand, which is one of the key raw materials in the manufacturing of tiles.
Mr. Tariro Tomo, the Chegututu District Development Coordinator complained that Sunny Yi Feng was not complying with environmental management requirements and alluded to the fact that monitoring committee comprising the Ministry of Health, District Development Fund, EMA and the Zimbabwe National Water Authority had since been established.
“The company had pledged to construct a road in the community but was subsequently affected by COVID-19. We are yet to see the company fulfill some of its promises,” Mr. Tomo said.
However, Mr. William Gung, translating on behalf of the company’s MD, said Sunny Yi Feng were experts in manufacturing ceramic products and pledged to comply with environmental conservation requirements.
“We have done the emission tests and smoke from our factory was blue and green in colour which means that it’s not harmful to health. Our smoke is not toxic,” Mr. Gung said.
Minister Ndlovu said his visit into the communities where the Chinese are operating in had established evidence of serious environmental degradation.
“It’s unfortunate that a company as big as Sunny Yi Feng has no permanent safety, health and environmental (SHE) officer. In the broader context, our government promotes responsible investment. This is the last time that I should hear complaints about Sunny Yi Feng failing to comply with requirements for environmental protection, Minister Ndlovu said.
Mr. Kizito Muhomba, the Town Secretary of Norton Council said engineers from the municipality would inspect Sunny Yi Feng’s waste and effluent management system. He encouraged the company to segregate its waste before burning it.
Norton legislator, Mr. Mliswa urged the company to respect local traditional leadership and comply with all the rules and regulations governing foreign investors.