ISLAMABAD, Dec 2 (APP):The garrison city of Rawalpindi with an overwhelming population of more than 1.8 million masses was facing serious environmental risk due to plastic manufacturing units set up in residential areas that had been left unchecked by the Punjab Environment Protection Department (EPD) and the district administration.
“The plastic manufacturing units release hazardous emissions and nerve testing noise pollution making the ambience unable to breath and survive when the plant goes functional,” said Taha Malik a resident of Mohallah Raja Sultan talking to APP.
He informed that his family and neighbours have been directly affected by an alleged plastic shoe recycling plant. “The plant is working in the middle of the society at the back of Government Post Graduate College Asghar Mall Rawalpindi. It has been operated in the morning and afternoon timings within a secret pattern.
The doors are being locked outside to pretend it as an abandoned property where the machinery starts crushing the plastic shoes,” he added.
The unit, he said is a potential source of breeding dengue larvae which has not been inspected by the authorities.
He said, “The emissions of the plants are so pungent and suffocating that elderly, children and youngsters alike get problem in breathing. The crushing sound of the plant had made us sick as it has become unbearable to sit within the noise and ambient pollution together.
It had made us mentally sick along with health complications.”
Subhan, another resident of the same vicinity said the plastic manufacturing unit has been operating for a long time where another unit of same category was also operating on the main street.
“The harmful gases being spewed by the plant have made the air unable to breath at peak times of its working. We urge the authorities to take action against the plastic units as they are detrimental for public health and environment,” he added.
To a question, the area residents said that no authorities had paid any visit to the area where the plants were functional on routine basis. They added that the district administration should seriously look into this matter as it was putting many people’s at risk, adding, “We have also made a complaint on the Prime Minister’s Citizen Portal but in vain, however, the deputy commissioner Rawalpindi has also been contacted on his office twitter handle where he seek the complaint number for inquiry but there has been no other response yet.”
When contacted Punjab Environment Protection Department (EPD) Rawalpindi Deputy Director Amin Baig, he said the plants at present were violating the law and obliterating the section 11 of Pakistan Environmental Protection Act (PEPA Act), 1997.
“However, these plastic manufacturing units could be issued notices to relocate their plants by EPD after inspection of the site as per the environmental laws,” he added. Moreover, he said the court can also impose fine on the plastic units if found violating the law.
Deputy Director Environmental Protection Agency Dr Mohsina Zubair told APP that if there was no emission purifying technology installed at the plants then it would have serious impact on human health. “The gases emitted through such plants are seriously hazardous,” she added.
The district administration had adopted zero tolerance against dengue larvae outbreak and air pollution and also imposed section 144 on open garbage burning in the province. The industrial units being established in the residential areas needed necessary attention of the administration to curb environmental pollution.