With regards to an update on the situation, on the 5th of October, “The main chimney, which produces the white smoke with Suberin in it, caught fire internally, and due to the heat generated in its interior by the inflammation of the internal residues removed from its interior walls but much still remained at its base, causing the steel structure to weaken and melt. Until collapse.”
The Portugal News reached out to Amorim Cork Factory for a comment, who verified “It is true that one of the chimneys in the factory broke on 5 October due to material fatigue and that this did not constitute a serious incident. The factory was only out of operation for a period of two working days and resumed operation on 10 October. It is true that the company is implementing updates and new equipment focused solely on compliance with environmental standards, which will be beneficial to its workers and neighbours".
In their previous meeting, the Câmara had decided that the factory should close on Saturday’s. However, according to the group “Amorim were also told to put all powdered waste into sealed containers, as it was being taken by the wind into the surrounding area. The drone footage showed they had not done this which was presented to the Vice President.”
On 30 November the 6th Coordination/Monitoring Meeting was organised by Silves City Council which was called by the Vice President of Silves Camara, Dr. Maxime Sousa Bispo, for Amorim to report back on their progress in improving the noise levels and discharge of Suberin into the air from the Corticeira Amorim factory. The meeting was attended by representatives of CCDR-Algarve, Amorim Cork Insulation, the Pestana Group, and The Neighbours of the Factory Residents Committee.
In this meeting, they focused on the improvement actions undertaken by Amorim and what is to be done in 2023. They reached a noise control and reduction plan, which will be presented to Silves Town Council and will include the insulation of piping, the encapsulation of outdoor equipment, and even the construction of new buildings to serve as insulation for the machinery operating in the plant enclosure and interior.
RTO or Suberin filtration, system to eliminate white smoke and odour: Installation of a building to store and deposit cork-burning waste (ashes and dust): the concrete structure has been completed and work is progressing on the construction of a steel structure to completely enclose the entire area in question.
Formal delivery of the urban and industrial licensing process, incorporating all the alterations made to resolve the anomalies detected with the problem of high PM10 levels is a matter that should first be discussed separately between The Neighbours and CCDR-Algarve.
The Neighbours of the Factory told The Portugal News that they are “indebted to Silves Camara for taking a strong positive stance on this issue and we would like to thank the permanent municipal executive of the Municipality of Silves for their work and support, organising the coordination/monitoring meetings and driving forward the process of achieving the improvement actions to resolve the identified anomalies.” Adding that “We are aware that some residents of Silves think we want to close the factory. This is not the case. We are fighting for a clean and healthy environment for the surrounding population and the factory workers.”
Monitoring meetings will continue in February and April 2023 to follow the progress of planned works. For more information on The Neighbours of the Factory and to get involved please email PoluicaoSilves@gmail.com or visit their Facebook and Instagram @PoluicaoSilves. You can also find them on Twitter at @Poluicao_Silves.
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