|The pipe dumping waste from Penang mill|
Since the military coup, the Fiji Sugar Corporation has refused to release weekly crush reports of each of its four mills.
This information was useful in analysing the performance of the mills and Government, through the parliamentary select committee on sugar could demand answers from the management of FSC for any failures at each of the mills.
This blog has been told that cane growers are suffering losses due to milling inefficiencies.
The National Federation Party who has members who are cane growers, has obtained evidence of Penang Sugar Mill in Rakiraki rife with problems and inefficiencies caused my management and operational bungling.
This has deteriorated to such an extent that sugar juice is being discharged into the river running next to the mill resulting in the death of fish, crabs and other seafood. The extent of discharge has blackened the river.
Since the mill started operating four weeks ago growers are being forced to pay and feed cane cutters to retain them because they do not regularly harvest cane due to mill breakdowns.
Cane Lorry operators and drivers are also suffering having to endure extremely long delays before being able to dump cane laden on their trucks.
In the case of Penang Mill, 80% of cane carted to the mill is by lorry transport. The mill workers are also suffering in silence and forced to implement band-aid solutions that are cosmetic and only camouflage the rot at the mill.
Evidence of pollution and problems
From left to right:
Picture 1: Evaporator Pollution Pump
The repair of this pump was submitted last year for the capital project grants however it was not awarded by the head office. As for now these pumps are not functioning as required and as a result, those sugar syrup that is to be recycled and reprocessed after going through the pump, is now being discharged directly into the pollution ponds thus causing wastage and also complication in the processes of the ponds. This is the major reason for the foul smell being emitted from the mill.
Picture 2: Dump Line Leakage into the River
The pipe that carries cane juice has a major leakage and needs to be urgently repaired, however a tube is being temporarily fixed, which still enables minor leakages and thus the juice being wasted and discharged into the river. This can be repaired, however the mill has to shut down as for now. However this could have been fixed during the cleaning intermissions, but there had been no commitment or response from the management . This is a clear indication of poor management.
Picture 3 and 4: Reprocessing Area for the Spilt Sugar
All the sugar crystals that are spilt over during the processing are being collected and brought in for reprocessing however this is meant to be stored properly but instead it is deposited on the ground in an unorganized manner that is unhygienic as well. Upon the Visit of the Executive Chairman on Monday (27th of July, 2015) , the soil was spread and thrown over the sugar to avoid it being seen by him and the head office team.
Picture 5 and 6: Sugar being discharged from a Tank Prior to its crystallization
The Supervisors on site, knowing that the pollution pump (shown in Slide 1) is not working, have yet authorized the emptying of the tank which contains sugar, knowing that all this sugar will be discharged directly into the pollution pond hence the sugar will be wasted.