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Egypt Environmental Export Market Plan
Chapter 4-Air Pollution Control

Currently there is no comprehensive ambient air monitoring network or database to provide reliable estimates of air pollution in Egypt. The limited ambient air data available indicate that the most severe air pollution situations exist in the two largest cities, Greater Cairo and Alexandria, which account for over 80 percent of the industrial activity in Egypt. The concentration of total suspended particulates in Cairo is, on average, five to ten times higher, sulfur dioxide four times higher, smoke and lead three times higher, and nitrogen oxides two times higher than World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines. Air pollution is also severe in Helwan, resulting in ambient concentrations of dust, lead, and sulfur dioxide that are 10, 50, and 3 times higher than the WHO guidelines, respectively.

A health risk assessment of Greater Cairo financed by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) showed that air pollution from lead and dust poses the most severe health risk. The study estimated that lead pollution resulting from leaded gasoline and lead smelters in Greater Cairo causes 6,500 to 11,600 heart attacks, 800 to 1,400 strokes, 6,300 to 11,100 cardiovascular deaths, and 800-900 infant deaths per year, as well as an average IQ loss of 4.25 points per person.

A World Bank study estimated that 15,000 to 17,000 premature deaths per year are caused by excessive emissions of fine particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, and lead from industry and transport in Greater Cairo. In areas close to cement plants, 29 percent of children suffer from lung diseases, compared with 9 percent in rural areas. Toxicity caused by lead was reported by workers at a lead smelter belonging to the General Metal Company of Helwan. Lead content in the blood of some of the workers was six to eight times WHO guidelines. Other surveys have also shown that about 20 percent of the 1.1 million inhabitants of Shubra El Kheima suffer from lung diseases because of high exposure to smoke and sulfur dioxide.

Stationary Sources

Lead smelters are a major source of lead emissions in Egypt's industrial centers. Fourteen lead smelters in Cairo, all but one of which are privately owned, emit over 500 tons of highly toxic lead per year. As much as 80 percent of the emissions come from the private smelters. All of Cairo's lead smelters are secondary smelting facilities. The scrap used in the smelting process includes lead acid automotive batteries and lead pipes and fixtures. To address the emissions problem associated with the smelters, it is necessary to install pollution control equipment and upgrade existing process technology. In some cases, relocating the smelting operations away from highly populated areas is also being considered by government authorities.

The cement industry in Egypt is one of the main sources of fine particulate matter, which is another principal health concern. The cement industry consists of eight major plants, three of which are in Helwan (Greater Cairo), two in Alexandria, one in Suez, one in Beni Suef, and one in Assyout. A major portion (60 percent) of the production in these plants is an uneconomical wet process that emits many pollutants, instead of the more efficient dry process. Total dust emissions from the five plants in Greater Cairo and Alexandria are estimated at 250,000 to 600,000 tons per year. One of the main reasons for such high dust emissions is the inefficiency of the installed pollution controls.

Other large point sources of air emissions in Egypt include metallurgical industries (ore and scrap-based steel plants, ferroalloys, copper, and aluminum smelters), chemical industries (including refineries), and power plants. High sulfur dioxide emissions are also caused by power plants and industries in Egypt that depend on mazut, a fuel oil that has a high sulfur content, as their main fuel type.

The air pollution control market is mostly donor driven (see table 7). USAID is the largest donor in Egypt that focuses on reducing air pollution. Its Cairo Air Improvement Project (CAIP) includes a major component that focuses on reducing air pollution from lead smelters and cement factories. Equipment procurement under CAIP will total $25 to $30 million.
Air Pollution Control from Stationary Sources

Market Size: $25 million
Best Prospects: cyclone separators, scrubbers, baghouse filters, electrostatic precipitators, monitoring equipment.

The Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency (EEAA) is currently developing a comprehensive plan for lead abatement in Cairo--the Lead Exposure Abatement Plan (LEAP). The LEAP will address all sources of lead pollution in Cairo. However, reducing emissions from the lead smelter industry has been identified as a separate element of the overall plan, the Lead Smelter Action Plan (LSAP). The LSAP envisions elimination of the largest portion of lead emissions by upgrading the operations of large smelters. Steps to be taken include installing state-of-the-art process technologies and environmental control equipment and relocating some privately owned smelters (not the public General Metals smelters) outside Greater Cairo. Lead abatement measures in the smelter industry are expected to be financed under the USAID Sector Policy Reform Program, which disburses $200 million annually for improvements in Egypt's industrial sector.
Table 7: Donor Projects in Air Pollution Control Funding

Donor Project Funding ($US millions)Duration Description
KfW (Germany)Program Support to Private-Sector Industry and Its Environmental Protection*46.01995–1999Provide medium- and long-term financing to private-sector industry to cover (1) imported equipment for modernization, (2) up to 50 percent of costs of environmental measures, and (3) costs of environmental audits and assessments.
KfW (Germany)Ductile Iron Pipes Plant (El Nasr Castings)*6.51998–2000Reduce air and water pollution from casting operations.
United Nations Development ProgramEnergy Efficiency Improvements and Greenhouse Gas Reduction4.91997–2002Stabilize and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power generation and industrial fuel combustion.
USAIDCairo Air Improvement Project50.01997–2004 Reduce lead and particulate emissions from industrial sources and vehicle emissions in Greater Cairo.
USAIDSector Policy Reform II--Environment40.0 1996–1999Improve urban air pollution (mostly at lead smelters).
World BankEgyptian Pollution Abatement Project*50.51997–2002Support pollution abatement investments in Greater Cairo, Alexandria, Suez, and Ismailia.
Included in “donor projects” found in other chapters.

The World Bank has established a Pollution Abatement Fund (PAF) of $39 million under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to provide financing through subloans and grants for environmental investments to about 25 financially viable public and private enterprises. Investments in air pollution control that may be financed through the PAF include adoption of cleaner technologies, fuel substitution, and end-of-pipe installations. Financing is limited to existing facilities. Environmental investment financing is also offered through the KfW-funded Private-Sector Industry Support Program.

U.S. firms, including CH2M Hill and Bechtel, dominate the air pollution control market with almost 50 percent of the import market share. They are followed by British, French, German, and Italian companies.

Air monitoring equipment represents another market opportunity in this sector. The Danish International Development Agency is funding development of an air monitoring network for Egypt, and the Canadian International Development Agency is supporting establishment of an environmental data management system.

CAIP also has a substantial monitoring component. The types of air monitoring equipment most needed in Egypt include dichotomous particulate samplers, lead samplers, and specialized meteorological measurement systems.

Mobile Sources

Apart from lead smelters, the other major source of lead emissions is the use of leaded gasoline in vehicles. In 1996, the Government of Egypt made unleaded gasoline available throughout the country, and now about 85 percent of total gasoline consumption is lead-free. However, almost all of the approximately 700,000 light-duty vehicles operating in the Greater Cairo area lack emission control systems, causing high ambient levels of carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides.

Air Pollution Control from Mobile Sources

Market Size: $5 million.
Best Prospects: catalytic converters, compressed natural gas engines, emissions testing equipment.

In the public sector, the Cairo Transport Authority and the Greater Cairo Bus Company operate more than 3,500 heavy-duty and light-duty (mini) diesel buses, which contribute a large share of the particulate emissions in the area. USAID’s CAIP aims to reduce particulate emissions from Cairo's diesel buses by 90 percent. This reduction would be accomplished by converting existing diesel bus engines to operate on compressed natural gas and by importing U.S.-manufactured natural gas engines, on-board storage cylinders, and transmissions. USAID is expected to allocate up to $22 million over the next five years to this program.

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