Green bench: Environment secy summoned in Ravi pollution case

Published: June 2, 2012

"The EPA has recommended that environmental magistrates be appointed to deal with minor pollution offences," EPD Secretary Saeed Iqbal Wahla.

LAHORE: 

The Lahore High Court (LHC) green bench on Friday asked the Environment Protection Department (EPD) secretary to appear before the court on June 8 after declaring itself ‘unsatisfied’ with the EPD representative’s response.

Commenting on the response of EPD Laboratory Director to a petition regarding the disposal of waste water in the River Ravi, Justice Mansoor Ali Shah remarked that the EPD did not appear to be serious in resolving the matter.

Justice Shah had earlier asked the EPD representative to present the list of industries disposing waste water into River Ravi. The EPD representative submitted a list of 1,245 industries, declaring that it was ‘not exhaustive.’ He said the EPD was still surveying to locate more such industries. He said EPD officials had served notices to the industrial units mentioned in the list.

“1,245 is not the complete number of industries dumping water into the Ravi,” Advocate General of Punjab Ashtar Ausaf Ali told the court.

Responding to the court’s query on how to treat the water, the EPD representative said that there were 53 different technologies to treat waste water.

When the court asked about the cost and manufacturers of each, he asked for ‘more time.’

Justice Shah said, “You have not brought complete information 15 days after the courts’ directions.”

He said that the EPD should have issued advertisements to get quotes on the various water treatment technologies.

“Such behaviour by the EPD is affecting the environment,” he said.

The court directed the EPD representative to submit recommendations for “cheap home-grown technologies” to treat waste water.

Earlier, the petitioner’s counsel submitted a list of 12 names proposed for constituting a commission to advise on the matter. The AG requested that the court constitute a commission comprising five to seven members. The court agreed and asked the petitioner to submit a list of five to seven names after obtaining the consent of all concerned by the next date of hearing. The court told the petitioner to include a representative of the industries.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 2nd, 2012.

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