PESHAWAR: A Peshawar High Court bench has summoned Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Environmental Protection Agency director general and Khyber tribal district deputy commissioner and asked them to submit a detailed report about unsafe disposal of effluents of marble manufacturing units and non-compliance of relevant rules in this regard in the district.
The bench of PHC Chief Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan and Justice Mohammad Naeem Anwar ordered that both the officials should appear in person on March 4, the next date of hearing of a petition filed by a resident of Khyber district, Ibrarud Din against unsafe disposal of effluents generated from marble units in Malaguri area of the tribal district.
The PHC chief justice observed that there were several areas in the province where industries were set up but the effluents were dumped in water resources including streams and canals which was not good for human health.
The bench sobered that it did not want to close down industrial units, but would ensure that steps should be taken for safe disposal of industrial effluents.
Advocate Zeeshan Khalil appeared for the petitioner and contended that around 200 marble units were functioning in Khyber without adopting proper safety measures for disposal of effluents.
A representative of EPA told the bench that previously Khyber was part of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) and the agency had no jurisdiction there.
He said that after the merger of erstwhile Fata into the province, the agency had been exercising its jurisdiction and had completed inspection of around 100 industrial units.
The additional advocate general, Syed Sikander Hayat Shah, told the bench that the officials concerned had issued notices to several marble units for non-compliance of relevant rules about safe disposal of industrial wastes.
The bench observed that effluents of marble units also affected vegetables grown in that area, making it unfit for human consumption.
Published in Dawn, February 25th, 2021