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Raising Sustainability Awareness in Future Generations at CEMEX Chelm Plant in Poland

Date published: October 8, 2010

Vacations are the perfect time to involve children in ecological activities and convey natural environment protection knowledge to them. The Green Schools program provides active support for protecting our ecosystem. It is part of the Polish We Help Our Planet educational project, and it is co-organized by CEMEX in Poland's Building the Future Foundation in cooperation with the Polesie Natural Parks of Chelm.

Chelm Plant

The We Help Our Planet project is aimed at children and youths of schools located in Chelm and its vicinity, where the CEMEX Chelm Cement Plant is located. Its objective is to address the issues of energy, natural resource saving, and secondary use of waste in an entertaining, accessible, and encouraging manner. Children highly enjoy the 2-day field trips in which they embark to learn about how to better care for the environment.

Chelm Plant

During the outdoor trips, children visit the Sobibór and the Chelm Natural Parks, the Ecology Education Center in the Polesie Natural Park, and the Chelm Cement Plant, national leader in usage of alternative fuels in Poland. The Chelm Cement Plant is one of CEMEX's leading cement plants in usage of alternative fuels, which account for approximately 80% of its total fuel consumption. This is a direct consequence of CEMEX's pursuance of its global sustainable development strategy.

"Caring for the environment is a key element of CEMEX's sustainable development strategy. We are particularly keen on the importance of instilling environmental respect at school age to create a conscious and responsible attitude to ecology in the future. Teaching through play is a great way for the message to reach children. Thus, we combine business with pleasure," says Izabella Rokicka, the Board President of the CEMEX Building the Future Foundation. "The number of questions asked by the visitors shows that the excursions are a real adventure for them, and we perceive this as an encouragement to continue these actions. The possibility of combining children's satisfaction with our sustainable development strategy continues to drive us forward."

The Chelm Cement Plant was one of the first plants in Poland to invest in developing the incineration of alternative fuels-properly sorted and processed waste materials-which can provide energy. Fuels can be derived from paper or textile waste as well as from plastics, used cooking oils, and other materials. Their composition and properties are regulated in detail by legal provisions so that the products generated with their use meet the requirements of all the strict standards. Incineration of alternative fuels in the cement kiln is safe due to the high temperatures reached inside of up to 2000° Celsius, which disintegrate most chemical compounds. Despite that, the type of waste that can be incinerated is regulated strictly.

While the children tour the plant, these and other important issues regarding the use of alternative fuels is explained to them. They can also see from a short distance how alternative fuels are fed into the system, glance at the automated system designed to do this, and learn the principles of its operation.

Along with ecological knowledge, children also learn about their local industry. The production machinery illustrates to the young discoverers how cement is made, astonishing them with its size and interesting sounds they have never heard before. The packaging area is of particular interest for the children. It raises interest with the operating characteristics of automated instruments and machinery. Another extremely popular attraction is the visit to the plant's Chalk Quarry, a magnificent view the children won't forget in a long time.

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