SC to resume hearing on environmental pollution cases in Karachi

A four-member bench will take up the cases this Saturday at SC’s Karachi Registry


Hasnaat Malik December 20, 2017
A four-member bench will take up the cases this Saturday at SC’s Karachi Registry. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: Taking notice of an environmental threat causing deaths, the Supreme Court (SC) will resume hearing human rights cases regarding environmental pollution in coastal neighbourhoods in Karachi, and the Sindh Industrial Trading Estate (SITE) area.

A four-member bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, and comprising of Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Faisal Arab and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah will take up the cases this Saturday, at 10am, at the SC’s Karachi Registry.

The environment in the coastal areas of the city being poisoned due to industrial waste material discharged into the sea, hazardous and toxic pesticides dumping has been a menace for many years.

In August 2012, the SC ordered all civic and environmental agencies to file reports about what they have done to control environmental pollution after a complaint was lodged by a man named Gul Zaib, a resident of Abidabad in SITE, over the death and disability of children caused by some deadly chemical waste in a vacant  plot in that area.

In 2007, at least three boys were burnt when they entered an open plot of SITE area to find a ball. The children were trapped in the toxic waste dumped there. One boy was left disabled as his both feet and hands were burnt badly.

SC gives two days to clear amenity plots in Karachi

“On the present issue, the Chief Secretary of Government of Sindh has apprised the Court that there are two aspects of the matter; one is about the disposal of the industrial waste and the other is regarding the municipal waste which falls within Scheme-III; however, for both these categories, certain adverse implications have been identified and apprised to the Court,” the SC bench had said in its last order passed on December 5, 2017.

It added, “The position has also been clarified by the Secretary Planning and Development Commission, who represents the Federal Government in this behalf. However, both, the Government of Sindh and the Secretary Planning and Development Commission, are directed to submit their respective replies in writing before the next date of hearing, highlighting as to what future plans have been made for the implementation of the planned projects, meant for the disposal of industrial waste as well as municipal waste, what are the financial implications regarding each and how quickly the matter could be put in place and implemented.”

The petitioners, all concerned citizens, have demanded that the relevant agencies and institutions tell the court what steps they have taken to control environmental pollution. One of the petitioners, Vice Admiral (ret’d) Ahmed Tasneem, had filed a human rights case on pollution and the discharge of effluent in the Karachi harbour area.

Another petition, known as the Tanvir Arif case, drew the court’s attention towards the dumping of hazardous and toxic pesticides in SITE while the third one relates to environmental pollution in the coastal area as poisoned industrial waste material being dumped into the sea by different factories.

The case was later adjourned until December 23 (Saturday).

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