The Environment Protection Department will assess dust pollution levels at 10 cement factories across Punjab starting from Thursday (today).
The department has sent its deputy laboratories director to the cement plants to assist the environment district officers in evaluating dust levels in their emissions.
EPD spokesman Naseemur Rahman Shah said that the 10 cement factories in Punjab would be inspected in 15 days. They include four units in Chakwal, three in Khushab, and one each in Jhelum, DG Khan and Attock. A report of air and water quality in surrounding areas will also be compiled, he said.
Shah said though most of the factories had installed electrostatic precipitators, which remove dust from their emissions, they were not operating them due to power outages of up to 18 hours a day.
Factories whose emissions violate pollutant levels set under the National Environment Quality Standards (NEQS) will be issued a notice, he said. In case they do not comply with the notice, a case will be forwarded to the environment tribunal.
Three of the four cement plants in Chakwal had already been inspected and issued show cause notices for high dust levels earlier this summer. EPD Secretary Saeed Iqbal Wahla said that they had been given a month to fix the problem.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 5th, 2012.
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