KARACHI: In a high-level meeting chaired by the Advisor to Chief Minister Sindh on Law, Environment, Climate Change, and Coastal Development (ECCCD) Barrister Murtaza Wahab, it was decided that strict action would be taken against those who despite the availability of resources, release their industrial effluent without treating it.

Murtaza Wahab earlier received reports of contamination of Keenjhar Lake through the KB (Kalari Baghar) Feeder Canal of Kotri Industrial Area because of malfunctioning of combined effluent treatment plant (CETP) of Kotri Industrial Area, officials of provincial ECCCD said.

Eventually, he took notice of it and convened a meeting which was attended by Secretary Industry and Commerce Riaz-ud-Din, Secretary Environment, Climate Change, and Coastal Development Muhammad Aslam Ghauri, MD Site Kotri Asif Memon, MD Site Karachi Shehzad Fazal, and DG Environmental Protection Agency Sindh (SEPA) Naeem Mughal besides other concerned officers.

On this occasion, Murtaza Wahab expressed concern over the rising industrial water pollution and said if there is no treatment plant in an industrial area, industrial effluent could be discharged without treatment and it is understandable.

But despite having a plant, if the effluent goes directly to the water resources, it can be said nothing but administrative negligence.

Secretary Environment Aslam Ghauri suggested that the treatment plant of Kotri industrial area be repaired immediately by the concerned authorities and the industries which are reluctant to avail the services of the treatment plant for a fee, strict action to be taken against them.

DG SEPA Naeem Mughal said that according to sections 11 and 14 of the Sindh Environmental Protection Act 2014, it is strictly prohibited to spread any kind of pollution and violators will be fined millions of rupees daily as well as their business can also be shut down.

He further said industries that have not yet had a combined effluent treatment plant in their area can be asked to install a treatment plant as soon as possible while taking a lenient view for the time being. But those industries which have the treatment plant but do not play their due role to maintain it and their effluent is found to be flowing directly into the water bodies, there is no justification for granting any concession to them.

It was decided in the meeting that if the Kotri treatment plant is repaired then its treated water will be used for better purposes. Barrister Murtaza Wahab directed the concerned authorities that the same water should be used to convert the relevant area into a green zone.

The adviser also directed the MD Site and DG SEPA to get the referred treatment plant repaired immediately by the concerned agencies.

On this occasion, the chairman of Kotri Industrial Area Asif Memon assured their cooperation with the regulator and the concerned departments.

It is to be noted that the Sindh Government has already allocated funds for setting up combined effluent treatment plants in all industrial areas in Sindh given industries’ lack of capacity to set up their treatment plants inside the factory buildings. In this regard, a combined effluent treatment plant was already installed in Kotri Industrial Area five years ago, the officials said.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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