Tourism Federation chairman Elhamy El-Zayat said that he received a memorandum from the environmental adviser to Tourism Minister Mahmoud El-Qaissoni, warning him of the negative impact using coal to power cement factories would have on tourism.
The Ministry of Environment has passionately opposed Egypt's cement sector’s campaign for permission to substitute mazut and natural gas used to power cement plants with more cost-efficient coal.
“Cement factories are located along the Nile, in Suez and Sinai, near several touristic destinations, which are valued at billions of Egyptian pounds," stressed the memorandum.
According to El-Zayat, it warned of environmental damage to the air, sea, and aquatic life, at a time when local and international tourism was heading toward green tourism.
Egypt fears it may also lose millions in foreign aid for turning to clean energy if the coal plan is approved.
Faced with an energy crisis and weighed down by the subsidies on balance of payments, the Egyptian government has cut energy subsidies on energy-intensive industries and is pushing for alternative sources of energy.
The Environment Ministry met with cement factories this week and suggested the use of refuse-derived fuel, sourced from municipal waste such as plastics, as an alternative source of energy.