The government of Uzbekistan intends to impose a moratorium on the construction of cement plants. This was announced by Minister of Ecology, Environmental Protection and Climate Change Aziz Abdukhakimov in the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis on January 30.

He commented that some cement plants are established in mountainous areas suitable for ecotourism development. The presence of these factories is detrimental to health and nature.

“We have studied several facts. I personally visited Zafarabad district of Jizzakh region, where the cement plant is located. The trees and the surrounding area of 5−10 kilometers are covered with a layer of dust, implying the destruction of the vegetation and animal life. We have studied the legislation. Currently, the fine for such violation stands at a mere 100−200 million soums,” the minister highlighted.

Aziz Abdukhakimov shared the plan to impose a minimum fine of 10 billion soums, which will incentivize enterprises to install modern dust and gas cleaning equipment.

The head of the Ministry of Ecology stated that, within the framework of granting freedoms to business, environmental expertise for such projects was abolished during site selection as well as approval of design and estimate documentation. Since November 1, 2023, environmental expertise has been reinstated.

“The capacity of cement plants in Uzbekistan exceeds the needs several times. This issue was discussed in the government under the leadership of the prime minister. The decision has now been made to halt the construction of new cement plants. We will see if a moratorium is declared,” he emphasized.

23 of the 47 constructed plants have suspended their activities, according to the data he shared. Additionally, a study of 25 cement producers revealed that 90% of them violate environmental requirements.

Aziz Abdukhakimov stated that environmental control over cement enterprises will be carried out together with the General Prosecutor’s Office.

Earlier this month, published an extensive piece on cement factories in Uzbekistan, calling on the authorities to discuss the impact of their activities on human health and the environment. Recall that, starting this year, the country reduced the subsoil use tax for cement producers by four times instead of the planned twofold reduction.

President Shavkat Mirziyoyev outlined the country has “production capacities that exceed the annual demand for cement” during a meeting on January 18. “But it is surprising that instead of increasing the output of value-added cement products and introducing technologies to reduce the harmful impact on the environment, the officials are proposing to build 22 more cement plants,” he commented.

In a recent statement, the head of state noted the numerous indulgences and benefits the industrial enterprises have been granted “to regain their footing.” However, he pointed out, some enterprises do not consider paying taxes or protecting the environment.