SC questions Manchar’s pollution levels

The bench gave Wapda a week’s deadline to file comments.


Our Correspondent March 21, 2014
“The situation can be improved if the irrigation department performed the duties for which it gets paid,” observed the three-member bench of the apex court. PHOTO: ATHAR KHAN/EXPRESS/FILE

KARACHI: The Supreme Court (SC) said on Friday the continuous discharge of untreated waste from power generation houses operated by the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) is adding to the contamination level of Manchar Lake.

“The situation can be improved if the irrigation department performed the duties for which it gets paid,” observed the three-member bench of the apex court during a hearing of a suo motu case regarding contamination of the lake at the Karachi registry.

In July 2010, the then Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry had taken notice of the increasing contamination of the lake. Since then, the apex court has passed various orders to authorities to take steps to protect the largest freshwater reservoir in the country and, in turn, save its marine life and the livelihood of the thousands of fishermen who rely on it.

The proceedings were based on reports regarding growing contamination levels due to the disposal of effluents from the Main Nara Valley Drain. According to reports, a 273-kilometre Right Bank Outfall (RBOD) was designed with a capacity of discharging 2,500 cusecs of saline water daily into the sea. The RBOD project director informed the judges on Thursday that 12 desalination plants have been installed along the lake to ensure the supply of potable water to fishermen.

On Friday, officers from Wapda, Sindh Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) and the irrigation department informed the bench that efforts are underway to prevent any more contamination. They said Sepa continuously monitors the lake’s levels of pollution. The bench gave them a week’s deadline to file comments.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 22nd, 2014. 

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