Buner’s marble is famous across Pakistan and, in fact, the district produces half of the country’s output.
The only problem is that when you process marble, 70% of it is wasted. That waste, which consists of discarded chips and slurry or marble dust mixed with water, can become an environmental hazard if not properly disposed. As there are 500 factories in Buner, a lot of waste is being produced.
What is being done to handle this waste came up in a petition on Thursday in front of the Peshawar High Court. At the end, Chief Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel and Justice Nisar Hussain Khan directed the assistant commissioner of Buner to visit the factories in the district and report on what they were doing to prevent damaging the environment.
For his part, Additional Advocate General Mian Arshad Jan told the court that the government has designated 44 garbage recycling spots in the area.
The director-general of the Environmental Protection Agency, Dr Muhammad Bashir, added that they had been looking into the issue and had installed eight-chambered tanks to recycle water at 195 factories. The water is then reused. (Marble slurry has about 35% water content.)
In addition to this, Dr Bashir said the provincial government has undertaken an experiment to turn marble slurry into concrete. They have installed five machines that create concrete blocks.
The judges also want the EPA DG to prepare a report on the environmental hazards.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 4th, 2014.