KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Tuesday directed the Sindh Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa) to carry out an inspection of Seaview to find out whether or not untreated raw sewage was being discharged into the sea and what measures the Cantonment Board Clifton (CBC) had so far taken to prevent contamination of seawater.

A two-judge bench headed by Justice Aqeel Ahmed Abbasi also asked Sepa to inform it about the status of a sewage treatment plant reportedly installed by the CBC.

When the bench took up for hearing a petition filed by some non-governmental organisations in 2017 against dumping of industrial waste into the sea, the counsel for the petitioners filed a statement along with some pictures about contamination at the Seaview beach.

Sepa’s deputy director (law) Habib-ur-Rehman Solangi sought a copy of the petition and time to file comments.

“Deputy director (law), Sepa present in court is directed to carry out an inspection of the subject area to ascertain as to from how many places the industrial waste/sewerage (non-treated water) is being dumped into sea and what steps have been taken by respondent No.1 [CBC] to prevent such contamination of sea water, and also to ascertain that treatment plant reportedly constructed at seashore Seaview near Chunky Monkey is operational or not,” the bench ordered.

SHC seeks comprehensive report on CBC measures taken to prevent contamination of sea

The court also sought a comprehensive report along with volumetric measurement of the amount of discharge of industrial and domestic waste with recommendations to maintain the purity level of the seawater as per international standards and aquatic/marine life eco-system.

Adjourning the hearing till April 5, the bench directed the respondents to associate all concerned parties and relevant agencies during the inspection so that a comprehensive report in this regard must be submitted for a further order by the court to ensure implementation of the recommendations in accordance with law.

At the last hearing, the CBC had informed the SHC that the Defence Housing Authority had constructed a sewage treatment plant (Kublai Khan STP) at Abdul Sattar Edhi Avenue in April 2021 and the sump pump operating at the same place.

The CBC in its report further maintained that the capacity of the STP was two million gallon per day (MGD) and the current flow into the plant was 0.40 MGD and in order to utilise its maximum capacity, the CBC was going to complete a sewerage line by March 31, 2023 connecting Sewerage Pumping Station (SPS-I Saba Cross, Muhafiz) and SPS-2 (26th Cross Muhafiz) Phase-VI with SPS-8, Phase-V, which would release sewage having flow of 1.50 MGD in the STP and ultimately the sea would take treated sewage of these pumping stations.

The World Wide Fund for Nature and some other NGOs had petitioned the SHC in 2017 against dumping of sewage and industrial waste into the sea.

Citing the CBC, DHA, Karachi Water & Sewerage Board and Karachi Metropolitan Corporation as respondents, the petitioners had informed the SHC that the sea was being polluted by the sewage at Seaview.

Published in Dawn, March 1st, 2023

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