The 7th quarterly meeting to monitor the work to correct the environmental anomalies at Corticeira Amorim's factory (ACI) in Vale da Lama, Silves, was held at Silves Town Hall on 23 February. Attending were Town Councillor Maxime Sousa Bispo and representatives of CCDR-Algarve, Amorim Cork Insulation (ACI), the Pestana group and the "Factory Neighbours" Residents' Committee.

ACI presented an update on the progress of work to correct the environmental anomalies with a view to reducing pollution, in particular the reduction of white smoke or Suberin, the reduction of noise from the factory unit and the reduction of dust from cork-burning waste.

To reduce the white smoke/suberin emissions, ACI reported that the pre-filter equipment is practically completed. It is estimated that assembly, phase 1, will begin in March and be completed by April 7, 2023, followed by fine-tuning and adjustment work throughout April. The pre-filter should be fully operational from May 2023, after which data will be collected for the final design of phase 2, the RTO or final filter. This final filter should eliminate the white smoke, odour, and respiratory irritation issues.

ACI is awaiting approval from the Silves City Council for a license to proceed with the construction of two new buildings to encapsulate the noisiest machinery. This license is expected sometime this summer with ACI hoping to carry out the work in August, when the factory is closed. Completion of the construction work on these buildings is currently scheduled for the 4th quarter of 2023 or earlier.

Further progress has been made in reducing noise levels by installing noise protection and insulation equipment around some external machinery and redirecting the steam surplus outlet from the machinery into a water trap. ACI committed to continuing to take noise measurements to gauge the results of the soundproofing work as it progresses.

All parties agreed that progress is being made by ACI. However, both Silves Municipality and the Neighbour’s Committee stressed that the crucial moment will evaluating the final outcome of the measures being taken, with the expectation that the environmental anomalies will be fully corrected and these goals should be achieved this year (2023).

The Neighbours final comment was “We all thank the permanent executive of Silves Municipal Council for its support and efforts in conducting this participative process which aims to correct the environmental anomalies of the Corticeira Amorim factory in Vale da Lama, Silves, with the consequent reduction of the pollution caused by its operation, and to improve the relationship between the ACI and the neighbouring population.”

For more information on The Neighbours of the Factory and to get involved please email or visit their Facebook and Instagram @PoluicaoSilves. You can also find them on Twitter at @Poluicao_Silves.

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