Environmental concerns: Industrial zones question SEPA’s notices

Say representation of businessmen needed before issuing notices

Our Correspondent February 18, 2017

KARACHI: Seven industrial zones in Karachi slammed the Sindh Environment Protection Agency’s (SEPA) for threatening to close industries on pollution concerns.

According to a press release, representatives of all seven industrial associations of Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) met to discuss the SEPA notices that had been sent to different industries.

The representatives of Landhi, SITE, Federal B Area, North Karachi, SITE Super Highway, Bin Qasim and Korangi Associations of Trade and Industry gathered to discuss the issue on Saturday.

The meeting observed that SEPA is trying to hide behind its unjustifiable notices, stated the release, adding that it is the basic responsibility of government institutions to treat industrial waste before dumping it in the sea.

For this purpose, four joint treatment plants had been approved 20 years back but this project is yet to be materialised.

The meeting also observed that it is a legal requirement to establish Sindh Environmental Protection Council under the Sindh Environmental Act 2014, which also made it compulsory to provide representation to industrialists and KCCI in the council.

This council is the competent authority to form environment protection standards in the province.

“Since the council has not been formed yet, how could SEPA issue notices to the industry?” the meeting concluded.

The gathering observed that legal requirements were not met by the SEPA therefore its notices are illegal.

The joint meeting cautioned the officials of SEPA that this issue could cause a crisis for industry and economic setback for the country; hike in unemployment was also feared.

All the representatives of business and industrial community demanded Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah to give immediate directives for withdrawal of notices issued by SEPA and take strict action against incompetent elements of environment protection authorities and institutions of the province.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 19th, 2017.

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