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62% manufacturers unaware of pollution prevention obligations

New research has revealed a worrying lack of awareness of pollution prevention requirements for specific manufacturing processes, which may be putting businesses at risk of unlimited penalties.


The survey of managers at manufacturing businesses across the UK, by drainage experts Metro Rod, found that over 75 per cent were unaware of the serious implications they would be subject to if their business was found to be in breach of environmental legislation.

Only 15 per cent of respondents were aware of all the individual guidelines their business is required to comply with. A significant number of those surveyed were unaware they were responsible for the correct disposal of hazardous substances (41 per cent), commercial waste and recycling (35 per cent) and preventing pollution (40 per cent).

Over half (53 per cent) were also unaware that breaching the above responsibilities is a criminal offence with potential for imprisonment and unlimited fines.

More specifically, the research uncovered a lack of awareness of how specific manufacturing processes impact the environment. Only one in ten respondents correctly identified that vehicle washing, equipment cleaning, water cooling, cleaning of food production areas and staff canteens all produce contaminated water.

In total, just 48 per cent of businesses said they were fully aware of their environmental obligations. As a result, Metro Rod has produced an industry whitepaper with useful advice and an action plan for manufacturers.

In a statement included in the whitepaper, Senior Technical Support Manager at Metro Rod, Chris Nelson, said:

“There are certain procedures and solutions that should be in place at every manufacturing site in the UK to ensure businesses can efficiently and proactively minimise their impact on the environment, but according to our research these preventions aren’t as commonplace as they should be.

“Taking action doesn’t have to be expensive or laborious, and in many cases, undertaking some processes just once or twice a year will provide you with enough information about your site to ensure it is functioning efficiently. Plus, it can actually save your business money – regular maintenance reduces costly emergency call outs, prevents operational downtime and will identify the actions you need to take to avoid the risk of fines.”

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