CS told to form task force to reduce Manchar Lake’s pollution
The Supreme Court directed the chief secretary to constitute a task force comprising water and environment experts and submit a short-term solution to pollution in Manchar Lake.
Hearing a suo moto case with regard to the contamination of lake water due to effluent from the Right Bank Outfall Drain (RBOD), a three-member bench headed by Justice Amir Hani Muslim asked the CS why the RBOD-I and III project could not be completed despite the undertaking given by the both federal and provincial governments that it would be completed by December 2016.
The CS was also told to establish a task force by consulting not only experts within the government but from the private sector and submit a report suggesting ways to minimise pollution in Manchar Lake. He was further directed to submit terms of reference and the names of the members of the task force by Wednesday.
The apex court was informed by water technologist Dr. Ahsan Siddiqui that the Manchar Lake water was polluted by mercury, magnesium, arsenic and cadmium as well and it was difficult to remove those metals/chemicals from the water. He said every effort should be made to prevent those metals/chemicals getting into the water in the first place.
Wapda Chairman Lt-General (retd) Muzamil Hussain and finance federal secretary Tariq Bajwa submitted that a meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) would commence on Tuesday and financial issues relating to the project would be finalized. They said the issue pertaining to the RBOD would be resolved within two and half years.
Justice Amir Hani Muslim observed that industrial waste and effluent was being released into the lake, and that endangered lives of citizens.
Justice Qazi Faez Issa took exception to the conduct of the irrigation secretary for not consulting any water, agriculture, marine and environment consultants to resolve the problems.
He expressed wonder over the affairs of the irrigation department when he was informed by the irrigation secretary that not a single water expert was present in over 30,000 employees of the irrigation department.
The court observed that it would be a matter of shame if government officials of the nuclear power country had no mechanism for keeping water from being contaminated.
The court directed the Wapda chairman, the planning division secretary and the finance secretary to submit their reports after the ECNEC meeting.