Presscane Limited, an ethanol distillery which is a subsidiary of the Malawi Stock Exchange (MSE)—listed Press Corporation Limited (PCL), says it is committed to producing their product in an environment that is safe and clean.
The company’s general manager, Evans Kacelenga, said the Chikhwawa-based distillery has a safety and environment office that looks at issues of the company’s involvement with the surrounding community, particularly on environment.
“We look at issues of environment comprehensively. Work safety and health and general health keeping is an ongoing programme. We work with the chiefs and the people on environmental issues and we are also an active member of the district executive committee which meets once every month,” he said.
Kacelenga on Friday was speaking to journalists who had a tour of the nine ponds where the company disposes of vinasse—a by-product of molasses from which ethanol is extracted.
Residents surrounding the ponds had been complaining of a foul smell coming from a consignment of molasses that was deposited by the previous company in what is called pond one in 2002, ahead of the beginning of the factory’s production.
However, production only started in 2004 which meant the decomposed molasses started producing foul smell which reached as far as Dyeratu Market, some five kilometres from the ponds.
But Kacelenga said Presscane, last year, undertook to get to the bottom of the problem and ensured that the foul smell is no more.
“We essentially removed the source, and while we were doing that, we sprinkled about 10 tonnes of lime to kill the smell temporarily. We moved the bulk of decomposed material to Kasinthula Cane Growers Association where they have ploughed it into the cane as manure,” he explained.
Traditional Authority Katunga thanked the company for undertaking to work on the source of the foul smell which, he said, was bad for the people.
“The smell was really bad and we were feeling uncomfortable. Now all that smell is gone and we want to thank Presscane for that,” he said.
Katunga noted that their relationship with the company is cordial, adding that Presscane undertakes a number of corporate social responsibilities that benefit the people surrounding the company.
Presscane alongside National Bank of Malawi, TNM plc, Puma Energy Malawi, Limbe Leaf Tobacco Company Limited and Maldeco are some of the subsidiaries of the dual-listed conglomerate Press Corporation Limited (PCL).