Projects worth Rs2 billion continue without assessment

SEPA says measures to mitigate the air pollution have not been taken


Z Ali December 26, 2021
A file photo of a mobile air quality testing truck. EXPRESS

KARACHI:

The projects for the construction of roads and sewerage system, worth over Rs2 billion, are being executed in Qasimabad town of Hyderabad without conducting an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) and Initial Environmental Examination (IEE).

The Sindh Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has belatedly raised the issue, highlighting the dust and environmental pollution caused by these projects, with the commissioner Hyderabad division Muhammad Abbass Baloch.

In a letter addressed to the Hyderabad commissioner, Hyderabad Region SEPA Incharge Imran Ali Abbassi underscored that the provisions of the Sindh Environment Protection Act, 2014, which regulated the construction works, are not being followed. He particularly mentioned the over six-kilometers long Wadhu Wah road reconstruction and widening project, being executed at the cost of over Rs260 million.

He complained that the measures to mitigate the air pollution have not been taken by the contractor and the executing agency. "Resultantly, the air quality has deteriorated due to high levels of dust emissions causing health hazards to the general public," he stated.

"Instructions should be issued to the executing agency to sprinkle water at least twice a day to suppress dust on the road for protection of human health," he added.

Read SEPA displeased at flouting of green laws

According to him, the act has made it mandatory to conduct EIA and IEE before commencing the construction projects. The law is aimed at protection, conservation, rehabilitation and improvement of the environment as well as prevention and control of pollution and to support the sustainable development in the province.

"No proponent of a project shall commence construction or operation unless (the contractor) has filed with the provincial agency an initial environmental examination or where the project is likely to cause an adverse environmental effect, an EIA is obtained," he wrote.

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