Industrial pollution

Published April 2, 2022

THAT in a city like Karachi, which has about a dozen industrial areas of various sizes, only 170 units have their own waste treatment facilities is not only shocking, it is also embarrassing. Consequently, more than 90pc of the city’s industrial, domestic and other solid waste is simply discharged into the sea. These disturbing facts were revealed by senior officials of the Sindh Environmental Protection Agency at an event held to consult stakeholders on the government’s plan to build five combined effluent treatment plants in different industrial zones. The officials also revealed that legal action against violators of the Sindh Environmental Protection Act, 2014, had resulted in 149 convictions and the collection of Rs19.5m in fines. Even though Pakistan has not contributed much to global warming, it is one of the top 10 countries most impacted by climate change. A key reason is the extremely high levels of environmental pollution. Despite being a signatory to the London Convention and having several environment-related laws, Pakistani cities are routinely listed among the world’s most polluted cities. It is clear that when it comes to hurting our own environment, we are our own worst enemies.

Shocking as this information is, what is ironic is the fact that it comes from the very government agency responsible for checking environmental pollution and taking legal action against violators. Sepa’s role as environmental regulator has been questionable. Though there is some merit to Sepa’s claims of being understaffed and underfunded, the very fact that the agency has been able to attain only 149 convictions — although hundreds of thousands of industries continue to violate the Environmental Protection Act — exposes its lack of will and incompetence. Moreover, its involvement in, or disregard of, a number of development projects that have caused damage to the environs, such as the Malir Expressway, raises serious questions over its role as environmental watchdog. Instead of explaining how polluted Karachi is, why doesn’t the agency put its head down and do its job?

Published in Dawn, April 2nd, 2022

Opinion

Editorial

First steps
Updated 29 May, 2024

First steps

One hopes that this small change will pave the way for bigger things.
Rafah inferno
29 May, 2024

Rafah inferno

THE level of barbarity witnessed in Sunday’s Israeli air strike targeting a refugee camp in Rafah is shocking even...
On a whim
29 May, 2024

On a whim

THE sudden declaration of May 28 as a public holiday to observe Youm-i-Takbeer — the anniversary of Pakistan’s...
Afghan puzzle
Updated 28 May, 2024

Afghan puzzle

Unless these elements are neutralised, it will not be possible to have the upper hand over terrorist groups.
Attacking minorities
28 May, 2024

Attacking minorities

Mobs turn into executioners due to the authorities’ helplessness before these elements.
Persistent scourge
Updated 29 May, 2024

Persistent scourge

THE challenge of polio in Pakistan has reached a new nadir, drawing grave concerns from the Technical Advisory Group...