By Mohammad Ghazal

FUHEIS – His Majesty King Abdullah on Monday voiced support for efforts to address environmental pollution in Fuheis and preserve the environment in the area.

The King made his remarks yesterday at the conclusion of a meeting with representatives and notables from Fuheis.

The Monarch said he will be the first to take part in any sit-in or demonstration that calls for addressing environmental concerns in Fuheis and supports preserving the environment.

“The King told us that addressing pollution in the town is a key issue for him,” environment activist Yasser Akroush, who was present at the meeting, told The Jordan Times.

Akroush, head of the Fuheis branch of the Jordan Environment Society, presented a file to the King highlighting environmental problems in the town of Fuheis.

He said there is a serious need to limit pollution in the area.

Residents of Fuheis, which is a small town of 25,000 residents located about 10km west of Amman, suffer from the fumes produced by the cement factory in the area, which pollute the air and cause health problems, Akroush said.

“Residents of Fuheis have been suffering from the factory for more than 50 years. This issue should be resolved after so many years,” he said.

“The factory should be relocated because it is currently situated in the middle of a residential area in Fuheis. After the factory is relocated, it is important to implement another project on the same location to create jobs for the area’s residents,” Akroush added.

The tension between the factory and Fuheis residents dates back to 1954, when the factory was established.

Town residents have previously said they initially tolerated the plant due to its limited production.

However, after the French Lafarge Company acquired a stake, production and pollution almost tripled, they said.

In 2005, the factory installed a $3.5 million dust filter in a bid to reduce emissions.

Company officials said at the time that the filter, which replaced the old and ineffective de-dusting system, was part of their efforts to address the environmental concerns of the town.