Toxic emitters


IT is concerning to note that dozens of industries have been violating environmental laws in and around Islamabad. While the Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency deserves appreciation for its survey of 270 industries across I-9, I-10, GT Road Sang Jani, and Kahuta Triangle Industrial State that brought the issue to light, there is a pressing need for more robust measures to curb such violations. It is unacceptable that so many industrial units are operating without proper air and wastewater abatement technologies, jeopardising the health of Islamabad’s water channels and the quality of air its residents breathe. The agency’s categorisation of industries based on pollution levels is a positive step. However, mere categorisation is insufficient without stringent enforcement mechanisms in place.

The government must ensure that regular monitoring and strict penalties are imposed under the Pakistan Environmental Protection Act, 1997, on non-compliant industries to deter violators. Additionally, a strategy must be fleshed out to get to the bottom of why these industries are non-compliant and how they can be persuaded to institute environment-friendly practices, including enhanced awareness about environmental rules and boosting the capacity of regulatory agencies to enforce laws effectively. It is also important to streamline the process of obtaining environmental approvals for industries and establish a transparent mechanism for monitoring and reporting violations. Collaboration between government agencies, industry stakeholders, and environmental experts is essential to develop solutions that balance development with environmental protection. Furthermore, the climate change ministry must be more proactive in coordinating efforts to combat environmental degradation. Concerted action is needed to hold accountable those industries that continue to pollute with impunity, endangering public health and the environment. With this survey shedding light on the extent of environmental violations by industries in the capital alone, it is crucial that the government address this issue countrywide. We absolutely must strive towards a cleaner, more sustainable future for Pakistan.

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