SHC moved against dumping of sewage, industrial waste at Sea View
The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Wednesday directed Karachi Metropolitan Corporation, Defence Housing Authority, Clifton Cantonment Board and others to file comments on a petition against dumping of sewage and industrial waste into the sea.
Petitioners World Wide Fund for Nature-Pakistan (WWF-Pakistan), Citizens for Better Environment (Shehri – CBE), Pakistan Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) and others approached the court seeking an injunction against release of industrial waste and untreated sewage water into the sea.
The petitioners submitted that Karachi is blessed with a coastline which has for over decades attracted tourists, traders and fishermen. They expressed concerns over the actions and attitude of the metropolis’ civic agencies which are seriously harming the environment, specifically the city’s coastline.
Two sewage and industrial waste dumps have been installed at the Sea View which are polluting the sea, maintained the petitioners while requesting the court to order action against those responsible for the installation so as to protect marine life and reduce health risks.
The petitioners also attached, in the application, pictures taken both on-site and through Google Earth which clearly showed the sewage and industrial dumps installed at an approximate distance of 50 meters from the sea.
The pictures also showed the open discharge of waste into the sea.
It was further submitted in the petition that this flow of industrial waste and sewage is carried out openly, unconcealed and that besides contaminating the sea, the entire area is enveloped by an unbearable stench.
This is an infringement of the fundamental rights of the citizens, the petitioners maintained.
They feared that such an untoward situation has exposed visitors to serious health risks as sewage and industrial waste cause various diseases and medical conditions; besides oral exposure to sewage-contaminated water can also give root to deadly diseases such as hepatitis – a liver infection.
Petitioners’ counsel, Murtaza Wahab and M Jaffer Raza, submitted that the acts and omissions of the civic agencies are not only destroying marine life and disturbing the ecological balance but their oversight is affecting the health of citizens who visit beach for recreation purposes.
The counsels maintained that locals, living near the beaches, commonly find corpses of endangered green turtles and other cetaceans which die due to water pollution. Referring to the pictures taken from Google Earth, the counsels brought the court’s attention towards the water around Sea View which appears dirty and dark in colour, whereas water around the beach at other coastal areas of Pakistan such as Gwadar looks blue and clear.
They requested the court to direct the civic agencies to take steps for cleanliness of the beaches and ensure that sewage and industrial waste is not discharged into the sea.
SHC’s division bench headed by Justice Irfan Saadat Khan after a preliminary hearing of the petition issued notices to the Cantonment Board Clifton, DHA, KMC, Karachi Water and Sewerage Board and others and called their comments on the next date of hearing.
The court also directed for the Sindh Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) to be made a respondent in the case as it is the regulatory authority and is responsible for taking measures for protection of environment.
Schools suo motu notice
SHC Chief Justice Justice Ahmed Ali M Shaikh took suo motu notice on a report regarding lack of basic facilities in Sindh’s schools and sought a detailed report to this effect from secretary education within a week.
Taking cognisance of a news report published in a local newspaper pertaining to shortage of teachers, students, poor maintenance of school premises, unconstructed boundary walls and other facilities at schools, the chief justice directed the secretary education to submit a comprehensive report explaining the absence of facilities, funds allocated and spent on the repair as well maintenance of schools.