A man drives his rickshaw in heavy smog in Lahore, Pakistan. PHOTO: REUTERS

Commercial activities threaten public health in Punjab

Non-compliance with environmental laws in salt and coal mines spreading TB, chest infections

Shoukat Hayat Malik May 31, 2020
KHUSHAB: Cement factories, lime and brick kilns and stone crushers are causing air pollution in Khushab district.

Reportedly, sewage and poultry waste flowing to crops are also proving dangerous to human lives.

The dust from the crushers is causing density in the air in closed areas.  Non-compliance with environmental laws in salt and coal mines, as well as explosive blasting are also spreading tuberculosis (TB) and chest infections among workers. Local social worker Malik Riaz Shaheen said the people of Mouza Daiwal and Mangwal are being affected due to a cement factory. “Smoke and dust from the cement factory are destroying crops,” he said.

A local named Malik Arshad Burhan said that there were very few complaints the effect on environment from a cement factory in his area but the owners did not employ local people, which was unfair.

A social figure, Syed Qaiser Shah Aqdas, said toxic fumes from the lime kilns in the area were extremely harmful to humans and crops.

“Crushers have been installed among local population in Katha, which are causing problems for everyone,” he said. Zeeshan Farooq Awan of Nowshera valley told The Express Tribune that the stinking poultry waste is used for quick growth of crops in his area, despite its hazardous effects on local people. “This is against the principles of health,” he said.

Speaking about the toxic water, Malik Ulfat Goraya said that poisonous sewerage water is being used for growing vegetables near Joharabad.

Moreover, as per another resident, Muhammad Nadeem, toxic smoke from the brick kilns has been spreading pollution throughout the area. “The bricks are made using a method that is hundreds of years old,” he said. “These kilns, which have existed for decades, are now within the urban areas, therefore, they should be shifted out of the population,” he added.

Environment Department Assistant Director Talha Hanif told The Express Tribune that there is traffic pollution, land pollution, water pollution and other issues and the department conducts weekly campaigns and imposes fine against old and smoke-emitting vehicles. “On the positive side, since Khushab is a small district, the traffic pressure is very low,” he said.

He said that there are two cement factories, a chemical factory, sugar mills, two textile mills, 12 rice mills, two oil mills, 25 stone crushers and 120 brick kilns in the area.

“We have ensures compliance with the environmental protection laws of cement factories and now there are no complaints about smoke and pollution,” he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 1st, 2020.


Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ