Cement Firms cleaning up their act

Cement Firms cleaning up their act
Published: 21 November 2006

The cement industry is feeling the pinch these days. Some cement companies are under investigation on the charge that they manufactured cement out of industrial wastes that are harmful to humans. Carcinogenic substances are allegedly being detected in cement.

Facing this demanding situation, the cement industry currently is experiencing a push for “green management.”

Major companies are making efforts to set environmental standards on hazardous substances and to publicize the environment-friendly aspect of cement. They are putting forward the development of technologies that will cut down environmental damage.

Production of cement that satisfies Japan’s standards in 2009-

As a result of the information collection of this newspaper on November 20, it was confirmed that the Korea Cement Industrial Association (hereafter “KCIA”), Korea Federation of Ready-mixed Concrete Industry Co-operatives, Korea Concrete Institute and 5 other institutions and organizations related to cement agreed on November 17 to establish “a collective council concerning concrete.”

The organizations that constitute this council told us the intention behind the establishment of the council, saying, “The hazardousness of the industrial waste used in cement is exaggerated. We’ll do our best to provide information on that and to let people know about the green management of the cement industry.”

Preceding this, the KCIA asked Kunsan University to investigate the facts on how much of a hazardous substance (Hexavalent Chromium) is contained in marketed cement and announced the results. This is the first time the cement industry voluntarily disclosed the fact that hazardous substances are contained in the goods. This shows that the industry is taking environmental matters seriously.

“We reached a consensus that we should raise the problem and suggest solutions voluntarily rather than hide facts,” says a person related to the circle. “People are fully aware that the cement industry will not go on if it ignores the environmental issues.”

The KCIA will adjust the amount of Hexavalent Chromium contained in goods to satisfy the environmental standards of Japan through its own management regulations by 2009, will abolish the use of slag that contains a high level of chrome in steel mills, and post on the website the results of its content detection on a regular basis.

Cement companies, through green projects, are making efforts to fight the impression that “the cement industry is damaging the environment.”

The Samcheok plant of Tong Yang Cement is turning a rock mountain green by planting trees on the limestone mountain of an abandoned mine. It plans to adopt the vertical mining method in the development of new mines. This method of digging a cave in the mountain to collect limestone is more environmentally friendly than the existing method of stripping the whole mountain of trees and soil to collect limestone.

Lafarge Halla Cement, hand in hand with Reserve Baekdudaegan, is carrying out a project named “ECO-Baekdudaegan 2+.” They are holding such activities as making ecological forests, environment tours, and courses that provide ecosystem experiences on Mountain Jabyeong, Mountain Hanbaek and other mountains included in Baekdudaegan (the mountain range that goes all the way through the Korean Peninsula).

Hanil Cement is purifying the drains around its plant and planting more than 100,000 trees a year.