Marble units use wet process to avoid dust pollution: EPA

ISLAMABAD:The marble factories established in the federal capital are using wet process to avoid dust pollution.

Talking to reporter, Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency (Pak-EPA) officials said there as many as 40 marble factories running in the federal capital’s sector B-17 area near Sangjani where 22 of them were fined by EPA on creating pollution in the area.

The Environmental Protection Tribunal, she said, had already imposed fines amounting to over Rs11 million on the marble factories in that regard hence Rs 5 lac fine on each marble unit out of the 22 inspected and charged by EPA.

She said that the agency had confirmed the liquid wastage of the units produced during the cutting of marble. “We have convinced them to set up septic tanks in their marble units to avoid open disposal of the water mixed with marble dust during the wet process,” she added.

The water used in the process was collected in the septic tank where the units were recycling that water to utilize it in the cutting process thrice, however, after that it became unrecyclable and consequently was disposed, she added.

They had employed third party contractor to collect the liquid waste and were dumping it into the nearby watercourse. The main issue was not of dust rather water pollution made by the marble factories in B-17, she added.

Another EPA official told reporter that the water being used after three times during the cutting of marble comprised of lime powder which was not harmful to environment rather internationally was used as raw material in different countries. In Pakistan that latest technology did not exist so at present such progress was not going on, he added.

Earlier, the EPA Director General Farzana Altaf Shah said the agency was considering to shift illegally established marble factories in Sector B-17 of the federal capital near Sangjani out of the residential area.

There were about 22 marble units were operating and consultations were underway with their owners to devise a mechanism for their shifting to another site as their presence in a residential area was posing a serious risk to human health because of water, air and noise pollution caused by them, she said while talking to reporter.

Farzana Shah said the cases regarding marble factories in sectors I-9 and I-10 were sub judice in the Supreme Court and the Labour Department of Islamabad capital Territory. The Supreme Court had already ordered the factories to take measures for the safety of their labourers as per international labour laws.

“The marble cutting involves a wet process in closed chambers where the marble dust settles which otherwise affects the health of labourers working in the units,” she added.

The industrialists dealing in marble were allowed by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to set up warehouses, which they had established in ordinary shops in Sector I-9 occupying space beyond their jurisdiction causing problems for area residents. Moreover, the cutting of marble stone was also carried by them in the open in front of the shops with no safety measures polluting the surroundings, she added.