Efluent treatment plants to be set up in industrial areas of Karachi to ensure flow in sea after cleaning

KARACHI:The Environment Department, Government of Sindh will set up combine effluent treatment plants (CETPs) in various industrial areas of Karachi to ensure flow in the sea after cleaning of industrial effluent, which was earlier to be set up by the Industries Department.

But considering the expertise of the Environment Department, the Government of Sindh has decided that the CETPs should be placed under the supervision of the Environmental Officers so that their procurement, installation, and operation are performed in accordance with the international environmental standards.

This was stated by Advisor to the Chief Minister on Law, Environment, Climate Change, and Coastal Development Barrister Murtaza Wahab while addressing a panel discussion organized by the Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) on the occasion of World Earth Day, here on Friday.

A limited number of environmental experts, environmental educators, and government officials attended the seminar, which was conducted while adopting the safety measures of Covid19.

Murtaza Wahab said that with the funding of Rs 11,800 million, the installation of CETPs in the industrial areas of the Site, Site Trans Lyari, Federal B Area and North Karachi, Korangi and Landhi, and Super High, the Industrial waste water from 625 factories will be discharged into the sea, which is still being discharged directly into the sea without any treatment.

He said that the majority of the workforce of the Department of Environment and its subsidiary SEPA is specialized in environmental issues so the installation of the said treatment plants under their supervision would be more efficient so that a major source of marine pollution would be efficiently prevented.

He said that the Sindh Government was making efforts to introduce vertical tree planting in Karachi because of the scarcity of open spaces to reduce the pressure of air pollution by planting trees in large pots on all floors of private and government high-rise buildings.

He added that he is happy that people are gradually realizing the importance and usefulness of tree planting, which can be expected to lead to more tree planting in the future through public participation to counter climate change.

The Environmental Adviser said that the Sindh Government is also at the forefront of setting up urban forests and urban forests are being introduced not only in posh but also in the middle-class areas of Karachi. In this regard, 140,000 saplings have been planted in Kidney Hill.

Earlier in his welcome address, Secretary Environment, Climate Change, and Coastal Development Muhammad Aslam Ghauri said that the growing importance of environmental protection agencies in Pakistan suggests that environmental protection has also a priority area in policymaking. It is, in fact, due to the changing demands of development on the global horizon that governments are no longer talking about development but about sustainable development, which is not possible until we ensure that our land is restored in every way possible.

He added that a few hundred years ago, the world community, intoxicated by the benefits of industrial development, considered the smoke from factories to be a scent of growth and prosperity, but over time, global reformers realized the cost of reckless use of natural resources for global development.

Director General SEPA Naeem Ahmad Mughal in his detailed presentation on the topic of restoration of the marine environment, said that the main causes of marine pollution are the flow of industrial and domestic wastewater, port activities, and dumping of the solid waste directly into the sea.

This requires industries to discharge their wastewater into the sea after treatment and local bodies to ensure the installation of treatment plants for domestic wastewater in their operations, while environmental requirements in port activities should also be fulfilled, he said.

Professor Dr. Jameel Kazmi of Karachi University in his address said that if the environment of Karachi is to be restored then more and more native plants have to be planted here while foreign plants have to be discouraged so that the overall environment can be promoted through local plants.

Addressing the gathering, WWF Sindh and Balochistan Chief Dr. Tahir Rasheed said that Pakistan ranks seventh among the ten most insecure countries in terms of water, so we can gauge the scarcity of water in our country as a result of which forests are declining rapidly. More than two and a half lakh children die every year in our country due to water-borne diseases, he added.

He said that if any institution can work effectively for the protection and conservation of water resources, it is the only institution in the world whose name is community.

If the people are persuaded to improve the water resources situation, the scarcity of resources can be alleviated through prolonged use and reuse of resources, tree planting, eco-friendly bags, and promotion of bicycle rides, he said.

Addressing the function, Water Resources Specialist, Dr. Ghulam Murtaza Arain said that the relentless use of groundwater was deteriorating the ecological balance of the land.

Environmentalists Shahid Lutfi, Jahangir Asad, Dr. Waqar, Nadeem Arif, and Saleem uz zaman also spoke on the occasion.

In the end, Environment Advisor Barrister Murtaza Wahab also planted a sapling.