"The area of republic of Shaq El Tebaan"
The report, prepared by the field work mission sent to Shaq El Tebaan area, on the deterioration of the status and the violations of the rights of the marble and granite workers in this area
Tomorrow, on Monday, 6/8/2007, the Forum for Development and Human Rights Dialogue (FDHRD) is issuing its report on the result of the field work mission sent to Shaq El Tebaan area on the deterioration of the status and the violations of the rights of the marble and granite workers in this area. This report consists of 31 pages and it includes 11 remarks that have been observed by the field work mission as follows:
1- The spread of the phenomenon of child laborers (the field mission monitored 35 cases of children who got sick or injured due to their work in Shaq El Tebaan area).
The field work mission observed that there were several child workers in the area of Shaq El Tebaan who are under 14 years old and some of them are in the age between 14 and 18 years old. The mission monitored 35 cases of child laborers who got sick or injured due to their work in the area of Shaq El Tebaan. The kind of sickness and injuries that child laborers are having varied as 31 % of the cases are suffering from concussion, while 11% of them are having different kinds of wounds. In addition, 11% of the cases were injured in their heads and they are having skull fracture.
2- The water the workers in Shaq El Tebaan area are drinking comes from the water of the Nile directly without being purified.
The field work mission observed that there is a problem in the drinking water in this area as the drinking water is bought from El Basateen area from a woman named "Om Rafat" and this water can be used for dirking. The drivers of the truck pay to this woman 10 L.E for each trip of carrying and bringing water. This 10 L.E is the fees of buying the water but the drivers sell it with the sum of 70L.E for the owners of factories. On the other hand, the truck drivers sell the water that is used for manufacturing the granite with the sum of 40L.E. The latter is taken directly from the water of the Nile without being purified and they take it from the area of Kotiska. However, the field work mission observed that the drivers carry the water from the Nile directly and sell it the laborers as if it is the drinking water. This water which is not purified contains the Nile's plants and small new born fishes. In this regard, a lot of workers affirmed that this water caused them a lot of dangerous medical problems such as having stones in their kidneys and intestinal colic.
3- The roads in this area are not paved and a lot of car accidents took place and led to the deaths of people because of such unpaved and neglected roads.
The roads in this area are not paved, and they are very narrow and are always crowded which led to the occurrence of a lot of accidents. In addition, such roads hinder ambulances from transferring sick people to hospitals. Also, it takes ambulances long hours to reach the hospitals. Sometimes, when there are not ambulances, the car owners take the sick persons to hospitals. In this regard, some people die before they reach the hospital because they are not given immediate first aid and medical attention.
4- The spread out of diseases among workers in Shaq El Tebaan such as skin diseases, intestinal and chest diseases:
The field work mission monitored the spread of numbers of diseases among workers as a result of the pollution of drinking water and food. In this regard, the pollution of the drinking water led to the spread out of renal colic. Also, the high temperature in the area and the shortage of water used for personal cleaning led to the spread out of skin diseases. In addition, the lack of sewerage systems in the area and the pollution of food led to the spread of cases of vomiting and intestinal colic among workers. Furthermore, the dust which comes from the cutting marbles led to the spread out of chest diseases.
5- The First Aid unit in Shaq El Teban area is an empty building :
The field work mission monitored that there is a First Aid Unit in the area, however, this unit is an empty building where there are not any doctors, nurses nor medical equipments.
6- There are not ambulances in the area
A lot of workers affirmed that there is an ambulance that comes daily to the area but it stays only 5 minutes in the area and then it disappears as it is always called to take patients from a nearby area and it never comes back to the area on the same day. They confirmed that if any worker is injured, people take him in private cars to the hospital but people can not deal with the patient and give him first aid because they are not medial doctors or nurses. Besides, the existence of a lot of trucks in the area that hinder traffic in the area lead to the delay of transferring the injured person to the hospital. In addition, the field work mission observed that roads are not paved. Such unpaved road can lead to more deterioration of the injuries of the injured person when transferring them to hospitals because cars shake and jump while transferring the injuries ones.
7- Food shops and restaurant do not conform to the health specification and there is no health monitoring on their meals.
The field work mission monitored 15 restaurants and street food carts which are not monitored by the Ministry of Health. It is observed that the establishment of such restaurants and carts were not done in an organized way and they were established randomly without any monitoring on them. The hygiene and cleaning in such restaurants are extremely deteriorated.
8- The deterioration of the infrastructure of one of the biggest marble manufacturing areas in the world:
The area of Shaq El Tebaan is a randomly built area which does not have services or utilities . Also, there are no drinking water or sewerage systems in the area. Besides, there is no electricity and roads are not paved.
9- The owners of factories throw their rubbish in the neighbor's area because they intend to rob the neighboring lands and use them to extend out their factories.
The owners of factors throw their rubbish in the neighboring area of Zahraa El Maadi . This neighboring area is an area which is very close to the hill where Shaq El Tebaan area is located. In this regard, the owners of factories throw the rubbish that comes out of the manufacturing of marbles. This rubbish is named "El Sahala" which is the outcomes of the manufacturing of marble mixed with liquid. A lot of workers affirmed that the owners of the factories throw such rubbish in the area of Zahraa El Maadi because they have an intention to extend out their factories to this area as this kind of rubbish is mixed with the land and is very useful in manufacturing marble.
10- The sulphuric acid is used to polish marble instead of using the competent machine because the rocks used in this machine in order to do the polishing are so expensive:
The owners of factories use sulphuric acid to polish marble instead of using the competent machine because the rocks used in polishing are so expensive. This sulphuric acid is used by workers to polish the marble as they pour it on the surface of the marble and therefore the workers breath the gazes that comes out as the result of the merging of the acid with the marble. Also, the workers suffer from the burning of their skins as a result of the touching of the acid to their skins. This way of polishing marble is not humane and very dangerous.
11- FDHRD monitors 255 cases of injured workers including workers who are under 18 years old as a result of their work in Shaq El Teban area in the period between 1st February till 25th July 2007:
It is observed that the high rates of kinds of injuries are fractures in feet which constitute 22.6% of the total percentage of injuries. Then comes injuries in skull and vertebral column that varies from fractures, wounds and concussion which constitute 21% of the total cases . Also, 2% of the cases were case of pelvis fracture.
At the end of the report, FDHRD calls the Egyptian government to take immediate steps towards eliminating the deterioration of the negative status in the area as follows:
1- Finishing the establishment of First Aid Unit in the area of Shaq El Teban and providing it with the necessary medical equipments and doctors in order to be able to respond to emergencies.
2- Finishing the workers of digging and paving the roads and planting them which can eliminate the phenomenon of air pollution.
3- Finishing the works of installing sewerage system and drinking water pipes in order to eliminate the spread out of a lot of diseases.
4- Providing the area with transportation means by the Ministry of Transportation because workers suffer a lot to go and leave this area.
5- Having First Aids kits and equipments by factories' owners in their factories.