The Support for Environmental Assessment and Management Programme (SEAM) was a project of cooperation between the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency (EEAA) and the UK Department for International Development (DfID). One of the main targets of SEAM was the implementation of cleaner production in small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Damietta Governorate, the “furniture capital” of Egypt, has numerous carpentry and painting workshops, which yield hazardous particulate and solvent emissions. There was an urgent need to improve the practices of the workers at these workshops, through awareness and training, to reduce the impacts of hazardous pollutants and increase the efficiency of the production processes.
SEAM contracted Environics to conduct a project that demonstrated the practices and equipment to reduce toxic effects and increase efficiency of spray painting for the furniture workshops of el-Shoura village of Damietta.
Based on surveying the status and context in el-Shoura village, Environics assessed the project’s activities initially planned by SEAM and proposed a modified work plan. According to the new work plan, Environics undertook the following:
– Conducting a baseline study that identified the extent of applying spray painting and collected health data using field visits and interviews with workers, workshop owners, and area residents
– Identifying and developing the role of the suppliers of high-volume low-pressure (HVLP) guns
– Preparing an instruction manual for using HVLP guns and conducting on the job training for selected groups of workers and workshop owners, which was followed by encouraging steps, such as distributing HVLP guns to owners for cheaper prices
– Providing technical support on using HVLP guns
– Monitoring and evaluating the application of HVLP guns through: determining the savings in consumption of paint and solvents, investigating the painters opinions concerning the HVLP guns, and analyzing the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in two selected facilities
A final report was submitted to SEAM, which detailed the conducted activities and their assessments and listed the outcomes. The outcomes included raising the workers’ awareness, enhancing cleaner production options, and achieving materials saving and financial benefits. The report also made recommendations for future development.
This project was followed up with a complementary task, whereby Environics was assigned to conduct a dissemination workshop for the relevant stakeholders of the furniture industry and produce a video film to promote the use of HVLP guns.