A letter to the editor published in the Friday TImes, Lahore.
The Punjab government would do well to rein in one of its offshoots, the environment protection agency (EPA). The agency has issued notices to almost all industrial units located in the Multan Road industrial area for not observing environmental rules and regulations. For instance, having a soakage well for collection of sewage water in factory premises is against EPA rules. EPA reckons it pollutes the subsoil water rendering it unfit for drinking. Even if we agree that EPA has a point, what arrangements has the Government made to provide a sewage system in one of the oldest industrial areas of the city? The city Government has not even provided drains along the road for collecting rainwater, meaning factories in the low lying areas are inundated during the rainy season.
Sitting in cushy offices and issuing notices to industries for breach of law is one thing, assessing the situation on the ground to understand the miseries of the sufferers is another. EPA could justify proceeding against the industrial units only if the Government had provided an alternate arrangement to manage sewage water. Lastly, how does the Government manage city sewage? Does it have a purification plant? Wasa discharges the sewage waste into Ravi; no wonder the water is nothing but slime.
Mirza Tuftan Baig,