Attending the meeting were Town Councillor Maxime Sousa Bispo and representatives of CCDR-Algarve, Amorim Cork Insulation or ACI, the Pestana group and the "Factory Neighbours" Residents' Committee.
With regard to the 1st phase of work to reduce atmospheric emissions identified as white smoke, it should be noted that ACI has made good progress, since the installation of the pre-filter is practically concluded and work is continuing. Currently, the pre-filter is 40% operational, although it is expected to be fully operational from the beginning of next July, by which time a reduction in white smoke of between 60% and 80% is expected.
Meanwhile, ACI has already launched the 2nd phase of the work to reduce the atmospheric emissions identified as white smoke. To this end, the Austrian company responsible for the pre-filter solution has been contracted again for the design and installation of the prototype that will serve as the final filter, which is expected to take place in September 2023.
With regard to the mechanisms for managing waste from the industrial unit, ACI has already completed work on the installation of enclosed spaces, consisting of a concrete and steel structure, especially designed for the deposit of cork-burning waste from the furnace and the soot filter (and from where the black smoke originated). This is expected to significantly reduce dust levels in the areas around the factory.
All parties at the meeting agreed that important progress is being made by ACI, but both Silves Municipality and the Residents' Committee "Vizinhos da Fábrica" stressed that the most crucial moment in this whole process will be the evaluation of the final result of the works in progress, with the expectation that the detected environmental anomalies will be effectively corrected, guaranteeing the operation of the factory without white smoke or odours (Suberin), with noise levels reduced within legal limits, with significantly reduced dust levels and with PM10 levels to be further analysed by the competent administrative entities.
‘The Neighbours of the Factory’ told The Portugal News that they “thank the permanent executive of Silves Town Council for its support and efforts in conducting this participative process aimed at correcting the environmental anomalies of Corticeira Amorim's factory in Vale da Lama, Silves, with the consequent reduction of pollution caused by its operation, and improving the relationship between ACI and the neighbouring population, contributing to a more integrated and participative community in the resolution of matters of public interest in the environmental field.”