PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court has directed the provincial government to produce a report of progress on the establishment of a marble city in Buner district which, it claims, will help address environmental issues in the area.

A bench consisting of Chief Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan and Justice Ijaz Anwar issued the order after several government officials appeared on the court’s notice and said the government had been establishing the Buner Marble City for which over 1,000 kanals of land had been acquired.

The industries secretary, commissioner of Malakand division and Buner’s deputy commissioner appeared before the bench during the hearing into a petition of lawyer Shamul Hadi, who sought orders for action against marble units harming environment in the district.

Officials promise early release of funds for Buner initiative

The officials said the government would release funds in near future for the proposed marble city.

They claimed that the project would ensure the proper disposal of the waste generated by marble units and check environmental degradation in the area.

The bench, which is called the green bench for dealing with environment-related cases, directed the government to submit its progress report providing details of the developments on the project.

The next date of hearing will be fixed later.

The present petition was filed by the petitioner over a decade ago and from time to time the court has been issuing different orders for addressing the environmental issues.

In 2015, the court had ordered temporary closure of 45 marble units in the district for non-compliance with the environmental protection orders of the provincial Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The said marble units were involved in the poor management of effluent and thus, posing serious threats to the environment.

The petitioner has said there’re hundreds of marble units in Buner district that caused water and air pollution.

He said in order to control environmental pollution in the district, the EPA had constructed a model of settling tanks in one of those units, while the rest were asked to replicate it.

The petitioner, however, said several of the marble units had not followed the directives.

He said that for the last many years, the governments had been announcing the setting up of the marble city but the project had yet to be executed.

The petitioner said that it was need of the hour that the factories should build underground tanks so that the marble sludge did not flow into rivers and water resources would be saved from contamination.

He said that currently, those marble factories had been directing contaminated water to streams and rivers, which polluted water.

The petitioner said that water pollution also led to the spread of diseases in the area and affecting the quality of agriculture products.

He requested the court to direct the relevant officials for the early establishment of the marble city to resolve the environmental issues.

Published in Dawn, March 20th, 2021

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