KARACHI: Taking strong exception to the authorities' failure to make progress in a 24-year-old case regarding the rising marine pollution, the Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday issued notice to the attorney general to explain why Islamabad was delaying completion of the Greater Karachi Sewerage Treatment Plant, commonly known as the S-III project.
Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali, who headed the two-judge bench at the SC's Karachi Registry, observed that the case was pending before the apex court since 1992, but the government was not taking any steps to control marine pollution.
The bench, which also comprised Justice Amir Hani Muslim, was hearing a case based on a human rights complaint regarding the rising environmental pollution in the coastal areas due to the discharge of poisoned industrial waste into the sea.
At the outset, the bench found out that no progress had been made regarding the installation of plants meant to treat waste before its discharge into the sea.
The bench summoned the Sindh chief secretary in person to explain the government's position in this regard.
Justice Hani directed Sindh advocate-general Zamir Ghumro to ensure that progress is made in the matter within a week otherwise the court will pass an appropriate order.
The chief justice remarked that inquiry commissions and committees are usually formed when the government is unwilling to do something.
He noted that filth was mixing in seawater but no one seemed bothered.
"The environmental pollution is posing threats to the lives of the inhabitants of Karachi and its coastal areas," added Justice Jamali.
Later, the chief secretary informed the court that various projects, including S-III, await the federal government's funding.
Justice Jamali observed that this issue is in the interest of the public at large.
The top judge noted that the population of Karachi had crossed 25 million, but no steps had been taken to save the densely populated city.
He further noted that sewage as well as the industrial waste was directly mixing with seawater as there is no effective system for disposal of sewage and industrial discharge in the city.
"The human as well as marine life is in danger," he told the officers present in the court.
Adjourning the matter till Friday (tomorrow), the bench issued notices to the attorney general of Pakistan to explain what measures the federal government had taken so far to contain the growing environmental and marine pollution.
Meanwhile, it also directed the chief secretary to seek instructions from the provincial government as to the implementation of the court's orders.
Justice Hani also made it clear to the officers that no further excuse will be accepted and that the court will be compelled to pass appropriate orders as provided under the law against those responsible for creating hurdles in implementation of its orders.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 8th, 2016.
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