HYDERABAD: Citing violations of environmental regulations and unabated pollution in Phuleli Canal, Sindh Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) shut down production processes in four industrial units in Hyderabad SITE area on Wednesday. The factories include Pakistan Beverages Limited, Standard Pharma, Haji Shafi paper mill and Prime paper mill.
Separately, three units were also shut in Kotri SITE, Jamshoro district, including copper wire manufacturer Top Animal, Amar Rice Industries and Premium Oil Industries. “The toxic water released untreated by these factories has become a health hazard for the people [of Hyderabad, Tando Muhammad Khan and Badin districts] who use water from Phuleli Canal,” said SEPA’s regional director Munir Ahmed Abbassi in an official handout.
“SEPA has repeatedly warned all the industries to desist from polluting the environment but it seems these factories are not concerned about the health and lives of the people.”
In February, 2015, former environment minister Dr Sikandar Mandhro held a meeting with the representatives of SITE Association and Hyderabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry. At the meeting, Mandhro asked the industrialists to install in-house effluent treatment plants in each industrial unit.
He informed them that after the enactment of Sindh Environment Protection Act, 2014, the penalty against environmental offenders has been increased from Rs1 million to Rs5 million. The minister asked them to submit detailed plans of in-house treatment systems to SEPA followed by their installation.
Subsequently, at a follow-up meeting, Mandhro warned the industrialists of action and told them to submit undertaking of installation of in-house treatment plants to SEPA.
“The repeated warnings have so far not budged the Hyderabad SITE industries,” said Abbassi, adding that release of toxic industrial effluent in Phuleli Canal is continuing. The canal is a 60-mile-long water and irrigation source with an agricultural command area of 629,650 acres. More than 300 industries are functioning in the SITE area, according to SEPA.
The domestic waste water released by the municipality, tanneries, cattle pens, slaughter houses and domestic industries are the other source of pollution of the canal.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 12th, 2017.