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KARACHI: The Sindh Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa) on Thursday ordered the closure of six industries for violating the environmental protection laws and polluting the environment by releasing their untreated effluent/wastewater, etc, outside their premises, sources told Dawn.

The names of the industries violating the environmental laws and polluting the environment and the industrial areas where these are located are: 1) Ahmed Oil (Sindh Industrial Trading Estate); 2) M/s Towellers (North Karachi Industrial Area); 3) Tabraiz Pharma (F.B. Industrial Area); 4) Lotte Kolson (F.B. Industrial Area); 5) IFFCO Evian Fats and Oils (Port Qasim Industrial Area) and 6) Diamonds Textile (SITE Area).

Responding to Dawn queries, Sepa Director General Naeem Mughal, who had issued the orders to shut down these industries, said that these polluting concerns were ordered to stop their operations immediately as these were not treating their highly hazardous and toxic effluent and wastewater before releasing it outside their premises and into the Lyari/Malir rivers, which was seriously harming the fragile coastal ecosystem as well as harming the marine life in the Arabian Sea.

He said that releasing hazardous and toxic effluent and wastewater without treatment and without bringing it at par with the National Environmental Quality Standards (NEQS) was a violation of Section 11 of the Sindh Environmental Protection Act 2014, which prescribed heavy penalties or prison terms to the management as well as closure of the polluting industries concerned.

Giving a brief background of the issue, the official said as many as 107 industrial units involved in oil, lubricants, textiles, steel, pharmaceuticals, etc that were located in different industrial areas, including Korangi, Landhi, F.B. Area, SITE, Bin Qasim and North Karachi, were issuednotices asking their top management to appear, in person, before Sepa on Thursday to explain why action might not be taken against them for releasing their untreated ef fluent and wastewater into the Lyari/Malir rivers.

He said out of these 107, representatives of 37 polluting industrial units came to Sepa and six of them were ordered to stop the operations of their polluting industrial units immediately as their untreated effluent was causing serious harm to the environment.

He said that managements of 24 industrial units were ordered to submit their environmental audit reports to show and prove if they were following the environmental regulations in the operations of their organisations.

Mr Mughal said that representatives of eight industries were directed to ask their chief executive officers to appearin person before Sepa to clear their position whether they were abiding by the environmental protection laws while conducting their operations or not.

He said that in another case, Environmental Protection Orders under Section 21 of the SEP Act 2014 had been issued to 24 otherindustrial units, which were not included in the abovementioned 107 industries, directing them to take remedial measures regarding pollution control so that their ef fluent as well as emissions met the NEQS before these were released outside the premises of their industrial units, otherwise legal action would be initiated against them as well.

It may be recalled that while thousands of industrial units are operating in different industrial zones located in the city, very few of these have in-house secondary treatment plants/facilities and they release their effluent/wastewater etc, without any treatment outside their premises into the open drains, stormwater drains, sewerage system etc, which eventually, after passing through the Lyari and Malir rivers, ends up in the Arabian Sea seriously harming the fragile coastal as well as marine ecosystem.

Source: Dawn

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