New research reveals that manufacturing businesses might be playing a significant role in the contamination of water, contributing to England having one of the worst rates in Europe when it comes to water quality.
Although 90% of respondents to the research said pollution prevention is important to their business, many are unaware of the specific activities relating to manufacturing that can contaminate water including vehicle washing (45%), water cooling (54%), equipment cleaning (42%) and food production (54%).
Exploring the specific responsibilities manufacturing businesses must comply with as part of pollution prevention guidance from the Environment Agency, the research from Metro Rod found that two fifths (41%) are unaware they are responsible for the correct disposal of hazardous substances and worryingly 65% are unaware they are responsible for the correct disposal of commercial waste and recycling.
Three out of five businesses (63%) don’t have a pollution incident response plan in place, outlining the actions they should take to reduce the level of pollution created by an accident on site, meaning that if an issue does arise they aren’t fully prepared to prevent the environment from unnecessary harm.
Furthermore, almost three fifths of respondents (58%) are unaware there is an unlimited fine for any business found to be in breach of environmental legislation, and just over half (53%) are unaware that such activity is a criminal offence with potential for imprisonment.
Metro Rod has used the research, which it undertook with a cross-section of people working at management level in manufacturing businesses across the UK, to produce a whitepaper and pollution prevention action plan for manufacturers to implement asset maps and regular maintenance to their businesses in order to help control pollution.
Chris Nelson, senior technical manager at Metro Rod, said: “We hear regular stories of sewage being discharged into English waters which is having a knock-on effect to wildlife and the way we’re able to enjoy our natural landscape. But our research reveals that there is more to this situation than meets the eye; the practices of businesses working in one of the country’s largest industries are making the challenge even more complex, and action must be taken now.
“There are various different processes that are essential to manufacturing businesses which, unfortunately, do lead to the contamination of water. And unless the correct tools and systems are in place to prevent this contaminated water from reaching the water course, local environments will continue to be impacted, affecting people and animals alike.
“What’s reassuring is that so many businesses told us that pollution prevention is important to them – we know people want to do more to protect our world. Our job now, as drainage experts, is to ensure companies working in manufacturing have everything they need to clean-up their operations and ensure their businesses aren’t responsible for the ongoing contamination of water for many more years to come.”
You can download the whitepaper and pollution prevention action plan, here: www.metrorod.co.uk/pollution-awareness-in-the-manufacturing-industry/
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