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Bidco Uganda Limited

Environmental Impact

BIDCO certainly undertakes high levels of manufacturing. What is the company's environmental policy?

BIDCO is firmly committed to the implementation of an environmental management system that will lead to sustainable development and will advance positive impacts on both human health and the environment. In light of this the company has integrated environmental conservation in all its procedures and practices right from the soil to pan.

From the soil of Kalangala Island, BIDCO is creating the largest oil palm plantation in Africa which will eventually cover over 40,000 ha of plantation. The first phase of the plantation is already underway and more than 6,000 ha of land has already been prepared. Transplanting of over 800,000 high oil bearing oil palm trees is underway. BIDCO's plantation on Kalangala Island adheres strictly to Best Agricultural Practices. These practices range from, afforestation, fertilizer application, spraying against pests, irrigation, prevention of soil erosion through the growing of cover crops..

BIDCO appreciates the importance of trees in the battle against climate change. This explains why the company has placed great emphasis on tree planting both within and out of its premises. BIDCO has spearheaded on Kalangala Island the replanting of trees next to the lake. This project is being undertaken in partnership with the local government and surrounding communities. The response from stakeholders has been impressive. At the factory premises trees dot the green landscape and a forest plantation has been established.

In adopting sound agricultural practices, BIDCO conforms strictly to controlled application of fertilizer. This is made possible by a series of measures, e.g. the use of nurseries where fertilizer is restricted to the individual palm. Indeed, even where the palms have been transferred from the nursery to the plantation, the field staff are trained in restricted fertilizer application. This ensures that there is no danger of any run-off.

BIDCO applies sprinkler irrigation in a bid to control the use of water and apply the water directly on the palms. There is absolutely no wastage of water or any run-off. This is a clear instance of environmental conservation.

Spraying of chemicals against pests is also undertaken in a professional and controlled method. The staff are clad in protective gear from head to foot and the application is done under strict professional supervision. This approach has a double advantage. The staff health and occupational safety is assured and the environment is conserved. BIDCO appreciates the ravages of soil erosion such as loss of fertility. This explains why the company places emphasis on the growing of cover crops, which add both moisture and important nutrients such as nitrogen to the soil.

The rigorous environmental conservation efforts are beginning to bear fruit. A review of the rainfall patterns on Kalangala Island reveal an interesting trend. Over the last three years there has been an increase in rainfall on the island. This rewarding micro-climate is testimony to the fact that the conservation efforts spearheaded by BIDCO are contributing to positive environmental changes.

Environmental conservation is also keenly attended to at BIDCO's Jinja premises. The company has designed an elaborate Effluent Treatment Plant along with a Sewerage Treatment Plant. The Effluent Treatment Plant ensures that any discharge from the plant is treated and rendered harmless.

Effluent water is defined as water discharged from industry which contains soluble materials that are injurious to the environment. Such soluble materials may be gases halogens or soluble liquids or solids which contain ions of either organic or inorganic origin.

Thus, the major objective of BIDCO's industrial effluents treatment is to reduce the amount of these potentially toxic compounds to their acceptable Threshold Limit Value (TLV), according to standards of the World Health Organization and the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA). BIDCO's effluent treatment consists of acidification ponds, an anaerobic digestion tank and an aeration tank. The liquid is aerated according to international standards before it is discharged harmlessly.

BIDCO also handless sewage treatment accordingly to laid out standards set by the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) and also based on international standards. The objective of sewage treatment is to produce a disposable effluent without causing harm or trouble to the communities and prevent pollution.

BIDCO has constructed a wetland for sewage treatment which provides a high degree of aerobic biological improvement and used to ensure that the effluent is harmless through removal of excess nutrients that may have adverse consequences on the environment. BIDCO's constructed wetland is teeming with aquatic and birdlife, testimony to the harmless nature of the treated sewage.

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