On the direction of the Supreme Court, the Punjab and Sindh governments on Thursday submitted the report regarding their steps to control water pollution, sewerage system and removal of garbage in their respective jurisdictions.
Divisional bench comprising Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan and Justice Umar Atta Bandial heard the response.
The Punjab government in its report said water treatment plants have been installed in different locations in the province. The report mentions establishment of new environmental laboratories in Sheikhupura, Gujranwala, Sialkot, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi and Rahim Yar Khan.
“Due to promotional and legal action, 164 air pollution control devices have been installed by different industrial units,” the report pointed out, adding that procurement of field-testing kits for measurement of ambient air quality parameters like smoke, vehicular exhaust gases and noise was also obtained.
The report says that in 36 districts, 168,958 vehicles were challaned and Rs34,467,180 was collected in fines over the last three years. It also said that 1,667 cases are pending against the polluters in Environment Tribunal, adding that 551 cases have been disposed of and the tribunal has imposed Rs25,570,000 fine so far.
There is a great increase in the number of vehicles in the capital city Lahore during the recent past which has troubled the environment of metropolis, the report admits.
It also said that there is a complete ban on the issuance of registration and route permit of two stroke engine rickshaws since 2005 and the process of conversion or replacement of existing 2-stroke rickshaws into 4-stroke rickshaws has been initiated. Presently, 39,413 CNG 4 stroke rickshaws are operating in the province.
The court appreciated the Punjab government’s efforts, but observed that people in far-flung and rural areas still do not have clean drinking water. Justice Ejaz said that in urban areas people suffer from dangerous deceases due to filth and polluted water.
Additional Advocate General Sindh Shafi Chandio said the provincial government would soon start the metro bus project in the province and mass urban transport system is also under consideration.
He said that according to the project, 100 buses for Karachi and 500 for other parts of Sindh would be plied on the roads. He further told that the provincial government had amended that Motor Vehicle Ordinance and imposed heavy fine on owners of public transporters for plying the old vehicle on the roads.
Justice Ejaz said what is the advantage of such steps if they not beneficial for the ordinary citizens? He said in Karachi the heap of garbage is found everywhere and the people were dying of polluted water. The Additional Advocate General Khyber Pukhtoonkhawa also submitted the report.
Justice Ejaz Afzal said Khanpur and Maripur jungles have been cut, which become cause of landslide. The court observed that cutting of jungles badly affects the environmental pollution, and directed to take affective measures to stop the cutting of jungles.
The hearing was adjourned till the second week of January.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 19th, 2014.
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