Sepa seals seven factories for violating environmental laws
HYDERABAD: The Sindh Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa) closed down seven factories in Hyderabad Site on Tuesday due to their serious violation of the Sindh Environmental Protection Act, 2014 and Sindh Environmental Quality Standard (SEQS).
“We have sent several notices to seven industrial units of Hyderabad Site for three years, but they failed to comply with the Sepa 2014, SEQS, rules and regulations. The factory owners also failed to give undertaking and did not appear in personal hearings before the Sepa DG,” Hyderabad Sepa regional head Muneer Ahmed Abbasi told Dawn.
He said the seven units were continuously engaged in violation of Sepa 2014 and other rules.
“We took action against them by issuing an environmental protection order (EPO) in order to close down operation of these units,” he said.
He stated that the EPO was issued for closure of 15 units the Site area, but the Sepa team successfully closed down seven units and another eight would be shut on Wednesday. He said Sepa stopped crackdown because of some issues during night hours in the industrial zone.
Mr Abbasi with his team took action with the help of the district police and administration on the special directives of Sepa director general Naeem Ahmed Mughal.
He said the factories were discharging untreated waste water into Phulelli canal and this water was taking a heavy toll on around two million people who drank canal water, used it for other domestic purposes and irrigated agricultural land.
PROTEST: Hyderabad Chamber of Small Traders and Small Industry president Mohammad Akram Ansari and other office-bearers have expressed grave concern over closure of seven industrial units in Hyderabad Site area by Sepa.
They said several workers would be rendered unemployed if those units were shut down, according to a press release issued on Tuesday.
They demanded of the Sindh chief minister and Sepa head to help stop crackdown against factories.
They also demanded that the Site authorities must be directed to ensure proper infrastructure, sewerage system and sanitation in Hyderabad Site. They pleaded for organising awareness programmes so that all factory owners could know about the Sindh environmental Protection Act 2014 and environmental pollution could be controlled in a peaceful way.
Sepa holds public hearing for new cement plant
The Sindh Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa) conducted public hearing on the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of a new cement plant being built by Power Cement Limited (PCL), said a press release on Tuesday.
The hearing, held at a local hotel, was attended by stakeholders including academia, non-governmental organisations, representatives of various departments and local residents of the project site.
Senior environmentalist Dr G.R. Keerio said during the question and answer session that implementation of health, safety and environment management system was very important. Most of the industries ignored the importance of health and safety aspects which resulted in occupational issues, he said.
Dr Salman Shah, a professor in the Mehran University of Engineering and Technology, said that PCL might collaborate with the university’s department of chemical engineering to undertake research and development project which might benefit the cement industry in the long run.
Representatives of locals of the area pointed out that employment should be provided to locals instead of hiring people from other areas.
Former secretary of environment Shamsul Haq Memon said that the PCL must undertake extensive tree plantation in the area in collaboration with Sindh forest department because biodiversity was under serious stress in the project area. He also stressed the need for a hospital in the area.
PCL CEO Kashif Habib promised to follow the recommendation of the EIA and the stakeholders.
Sepa director (technical) Waqar Hussain Phulpoto, who chaired the hearing, said that the agency would not leave any stone unturned in protecting environment and natural resources of Sindh. The department had taken serious actions against violators of the Sindh Environmental Protection Act, 2014, he said.
Earlier, Saquib Ejaz Hussain, representative of EMC Pakistan Private Ltd, which conducted the EIA study, said that PCL intended to expand its cement production capacity from 3,000 total ton production (tpd) to 10,700 tons per day and therefore planned to construct 7,700 tpd capacity integrated cement plant at Power Cement Complex on the Superhighway.
The project site is situated adjacent to the proposed Karachi-Hyderabad Motorway M9 route at a distance of 80km from Karachi.
He said the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was the major reason for increased local demand of cement. The demand would rise in future, he added.