RAWALPINDI, July 28: The Punjab Environmental Tribunal on Saturday issued warrants for the arrest of the owners of three stone crushing machines at the Margallah Hills in Taxila for not appearing before the tribunal.
District Officer Environment Shaukat Hayat told Dawn that the orders were issued during a camp court in Murree. The tribunal, headed by Abdul Rasheed with member (general) Obaid Rabbani and member (technical) Prof A.R. Saleemi, took up the cases of the stone crushers and those polluting water streams in and around Murree that discharged into the Rawal Lake.
The warrants were issued against Khawaja Stone Crusher, Malik Mehar Stone Crusher and Anwar Stone Crushers. “The action was taken against the stone crushers after they did not appear before the tribunal despite giving them enough time to present their points of view,” said Mr Hayat.
Meanwhile, the tribunal head, Abdul Rasheed, visited Rawal Lake and adjoining areas to assess the main cause of pollution there and also reviewed the efforts of Punjab Environment Protection Agency (Punjab-Epa) to stop pollution in the reservoir. The tribunal members and the district officer environment also accompanied him.
During the visit, the tribunal expressed dissatisfaction over the Islamabad administration’s efforts to stop discharging sewage into the lake and directed appropriate steps to avoid pollution in the lake.
The tribunal members visited the filtration plant managed by Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa), where the officials concerned informed them that they were working day and night to provide clean drinking water to the end users.
The tribunal expressed satisfaction over the performance of Wasa and said the lake was being polluted by the sewage discharged from the capital city’s areas.
While talking to Dawn, Mr Hayat said the tribunal had asked Punjab-Epa to collect samples of water in the Rawal Lake and adjoining nullahs.
He said EPA would take samples after Eidul Fitr and send them to laboratory for bio-oxygen demand (BOD) as it takes a week for the results. He said the polluted water was visible at junctions where the sewage discharged into the reservoir from Bani Gala, Bhara Kahu, Diplomatic Enclave and other points.