SAHIWAL: The Environment Protection Agency’s (EPA) local authorities have got a case registered against the owners and four officials of two companies on the charges of creating pollution by operating two biomass fired steam boilers at a factory near 97/9-L village, about eight kilometres away from here, on Pakpattan Road.
The action has been taken against the heads and officials of Friesland Campina Engro Pakistan and Scandic Green Private Limited on public complaints about “dangerous smoke, dust and smog created by the factory.”
On the complaint of EPA Assistant Director Muhammad Younas Zahid, the Yousafwala police registered a case (FIR 952/21) against the owner/CEO, Manager HSE Mohsin Mehdi and Purchase Manager Asad Farooq (Friesland Campina -- formerly Engro Foods Limited), and CEO Arif Alam, Boiler Engineer Ali Imran and Admin Manager Hamid Ali (Scandic Green Pvt Lmited).
The EPA in a letter No 3037-HN/AD/EPA of Oct 20 last had already stopped the operations of the two boilers for causing smoke pollution and dust in the area.
Sources told Dawn that both the steam boilers were “illegally” installed in 2014-15 on the factory premises. Younas Zahid said the boilers were declared “illegal” under Section 12 of the Punjab Environment Protection Act -1997 (Amended in 2017) because they were causing severe dusty particles and smoke above 3 on Ringelmann Scale.
The FIR says the two boilers were run also in violation of sections of The Punjab Calamities (Prevention and Relief Act) 1958 and Section 144 imposed by the district government. Besides, violation of the Punjab Disaster Management Authority and EPA standing orders of Oct 1 and 6 respectively was also done.
Some people of surrounding villages filed complaints at PM’s Citizen Portal against the company for air pollution and odour produced by the two steam boilers. The EPA investigated the use of boilers and called company representatives for personal hearing on Oct 16 but no one appeared. Later, the EPA complained to the company through letter No 3033-HN/AD. EPA of Oct 17 about a lack of seriousness. On Oct 20, it ordered the company to stop operations of the two boilers.
Mr Zahid said the two companies worked as a joint venture and the Dutch multinational food company’s claim that the boilers were used by a third party was not correct. Both the boilers, he said, were not approved by the EPA standards and were illegally installed.
SHO Nadeem Anwar said the suspects got bail and the case was likely to be heard on Nov 3.
Published in Dawn, November 1st, 2021