Novelty Tannery is located in Kijabweemi trading center next to Nabajjuzi Ramsar site in Masaka Municipality.
The National Environment Management Authority-NEMA has closed Novelty Tannery factory in Masaka for alleged environmental degradation and air pollution. Novelty Tannery is located in Kijabweemi trading center next to Nabajjuzi Ramsar site in Masaka Municipality. 12 NEMA officials stormed the factory on Tuesday evening and ordered it closed.
Aristotarco Mujuzi Kasekende, the head of the NEMA delegation told URN that they decided to close the tannery because of its failure to operate with the set guideline by NEMA. Mujuzi says that during an inspection exercise they carried out on Tuesday, they discovered that the tannery was discharging raw affluent into Nabajjuzi wetland which has caused damage to about 5 acres of the wetland. He says that the NEMA board decided to close the tannery until a through clean up is done to restore the destroyed eco-system at Nabajjuzi wetland.
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Shillingi Mugisha, a Water Engineer with NEMA says the proprietors of Novelty Tannery will be charged with emptying raw chemicals into a water source which is used for human consumption. He accuses Ali Khanafer, the director of Novelty tannery of violating NEMA act.
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In addition to environmental degradation the tannery is also accused of operating under poor conditions and exploitation of labor. Johnson Baryantuma, the town clerk Masaka municipality says that they have received several complaints that workers in tannery are exploited and not given protective gears.
He says that during the inspection by NEMA, all the workers were found using their bare hands to sort out rotting skin and hides and had no mouth and nose protection gear despite of the huge stench. Ali Khanafer, the director of Novelty Tannery told the officials that they are doing everything possible to implement the NEMA guidelines. He pleaded with NEMA not to close his business but his pleas fell on deaf ears.
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He also denied allegations of exploiting his workers and defended his decision not to provide his workers with protective gears saying the rotten hides and skin are salted which kills all that germs which would affect them. Novelty Tannery was initially co-owned by businessman Hassan Basajjabalaba and Gerald Ssendawula who sold it to the Indians about four years ago.
novelty tannery closed
nema and environment
solid waste management
workers return home