NAROWAL: Despite a gradual increase in smog in the area, some brick kilns, using traditional method, are still functioning in the district, violating ban on them imposed by the Punjab government in an effort to control pollution during the winter.

As per the government notification, there is a ban on old style brick kilns until Dec 20 and only such kilns as are using zigzag technology. However, influential brick kiln owners are spreading harmful smoke in the atmosphere, including those that are just one kilometer from office of the deputy commissioner. Some of these smoke-emitting brick kilns are functioning on the Narowal- Shakargarh Road, which is used by Sikh yatrees and top government officers to go to Kartarpur. The officers of district and tehsil administration daily go to Shakargarh by using the road and witness the brick kilns defying the ban. A complete silence of Environment Protection Department (EPD) and the district administration in connection with the brick kilns ban raises many questions.

“When we get up in the morning, we see small particles of black carbon on everything lying in the open and our faces and noses are also affected badly by the black smoke,” says Muhammad Junaid, a resident of village Aliabad said.

“We have filed applications to the environment office and district administration Narowal for a number of times to get the treatment plants set up on the brick kilns to reduce pollution but in vain” says Muhammad Akbar of the same village.

EPD Inspector Muhammad Rizwan says the government had issued the notification late to ban the production of bricks and the kilns violating the ban would face action.

The people living around the brick kilns are suffering from various diseases due to pollution. The smoke emitting from the chimneys of these kilns is causing diseases among the people like throat, lung, eye and skin issues. They demand Chief Minister Usman Buzdar take notice of the situation.

Published in Dawn, November 23rd, 2019

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