The Punjab Environmental Tribunal on Thursday issued bailable arrest warrants against owner of a Rawalpindi-based plywood company for failing to appear before the tribunal in a case related to environmental pollution.
The same tribunal deferred judgment against another company that has reportedly adopted precautionary measures after notices were issued to it.
A three-member tribunal, headed by Chairman Abdul Rasheed, took up 66 environmental related cases on the first day of its two-day proceedings.
A majority of the cases - 74 per cent - were against stone crushers on charges of air pollution and illegal operations, but the Rawalpindi District Environment Office (DEO) also brought cases against poultry farms, a plywood company, a cereal-manufacturing plant and a medical centre to the tribunal.
The tribunal issued a bailable arrest warrant against the owner of the Capital Plywood Industries - a plywood company on Kallar Syedan Road in Rawalpindi - after the owner failed to appear before the tribunal. The plywood company was facing charges of dust pollution.
In another case, the tribunal deferred the judgment of a case against Fauji Cereals, a project of the Fauji Foundation, on Dhamial Road until Friday.
The cereal manufacturing company was served an Environment Protection Order (EPO) because of air and water pollution, a DEO field officer told The Express Tribune, on condition of anonymity.
The officer said that the Fauji Cereals had made improvements in their waste disposal since the interventions. The company has constructed an underground storage for solid waste to prevent stench and it has contracted a recycling plant for its waste disposal instead of burning the trash in the open.
Just like the tribunal’s previous hearings in February, stone crushing units on the Margalla Hills were again the mainstay of the proceedings.
In the tribunal’s February proceedings, six stone crushers were fined Rs30,000 each. The crushers were given a two-month deadline to come into compliance with Section 12 of the Punjab Environment Protection Act 2012.
Most of the stone crusher cases on Thursday were either deferred till Friday or given next hearing dates for May.
The DEO is focusing exclusively on controlling air quality degradation but the stone crushing units are also destroying natural habitats and forests in the Margalla Hills National Park, said Imdad, an environmentalist.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 12th, 2013.
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