Businesses shut down in Erbil for breaking environmental regulations, says mayor
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Local officials in the Kurdistan Region's capital of Erbil announced on Tuesday that authorities had ordered the closure of 27 factories that had often repeatedly failed to follow governmental environmental protection regulations, even after they had been given formal warnings.
Erbil municipal authorities "shut down those plants due to environmental pollution based on complaints from 70 citizens," said Erbil district mayor Nabez Abdul Hamid in an interview with Kurdistan 24.
The factories specialized in producing construction materials and are located along the Makhmour Road, the mayor explained.
He noted that the facilities were once far from housing projects, but this is no longer the case due to urban expansion, raising air and sound pollution concerns among nearby residents.
In early August, The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) announced it was taking steps to shutter all existing oil refineries it deems "illegal" in Erbil province, citing pollution and health risks to nearby populations, according to a parliamentary official.
In 2019, a governmental committee tasked with ending unauthorized refining stated that the makeshift operations--of which there reportedly were 214 at the time--were not legally registered and were having detrimental effects on water quality and other aspects of the local environment.
Out of a total of 130 such facilities in Erbil province, security forces "have shut down 55" and are working to terminate the rest, Sherko Jawdat, a member of the Kurdistan Region Parliament's Energy and Natural Resources Committee, told Kurdistan 24.
Editing by John J. Catherine