—Official says initiative aimed at increasing plantation cover which was depleted due to massive construction, development
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency (Pak-EPA), in the wake of Clean Green Pakistan programme, has promoted the concept of Green Industrial Zone in collaboration with the industrial sector.
Pak-EPA had conducted a detailed survey of industrial estate of the federal capital situated in sectors I-9, I-10 and Kahuta Triangle to identify and categorise the number and types of industries.
An official of Pak-EPA told APP that a total of 185 industrial units were identified in I-9, I-10 and Kahuta Triangle.
“Major source of air pollution are steel furnaces in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) which are being regularly monitored by Pak-EPA through installation of cameras and online dust monitoring system,” he added.
To a question, he said that the green industrial zone initiative aimed at increasing the plantation cover in the sector which was depleted due to massive construction and development. The initiative was launched with the assistance of the industrial community on #plant4islamabad day which was observed on April 3.
While referring to the concerns of the masses about increased pollution levels due to industrial emissions, he said, “It is not a fact as the number of industries emitting smoke are not increasing day by day in ICT.”
“Scrubbers have also been installed for absorption of carbon from emissions,” he added.
There are 12 steel units which were causing pollution in sector I-9, I-10 despite strict monitoring and legal action, he said. However, the apex court in its order of July 5, 2010, directed for the cessation of operations of all steel mills till such time that the online dust monitoring system was installed on the stacks.
“Cases against two steel mills i.e. Modern Steel and Potohar Steel have been filed in the Environmental Protection Tribunal (EPT) which imposed fines to the tune of Rs50,000 on each unit,” he said.
During the visit of Pak-EPA monitoring team to the industrial area on August 28, 2017, three facilities namely Zia Steel, Mustahkem Foundry and Silk Route Steel Mills had been found to be non-compliant, the official added.
Moreover, on account of non-compliance of the order of the apex court dated June 30, 2018, following four steel furnace and re-rolling mills were sealed the same day by the agency after issuing environmental protection order (EPO) and a fine of Rs5 million was imposed on Pak-Iron Re-Rolling and Furnace Steel Mills, Mustahkem Steel Mills (foundry), Siddiqui Steel Mills (furnace) and Karachi Steel, he informed.
Replying to another question, he said, “Presently, all the steel furnaces situated in ICT have installed pollution abatement technology and Pak-EPA regularly monitors these steel units for ensuring the compliance of the national environmental quality standards (NEQS).”
“These units are being monitored by Pak-EPA through CCTV cameras installed inside and on the rooftops of the steel units, which are also submitting their monthly gaseous emissions report to Pak-EPA,” he added.
The agency, he said, had notified National Environmental Quality Standards Ambient Air under Statutory Regulatory Order (SRO) no. 1062 (I)/2010 and industrial gaseous emissions under SRO no. 549(I)/2000. “Every industry is liable to keep its gaseous emissions within the permissible limits notified in NEQS,” he stated.
He went on to say that Pak-EPA conducted a 30-day ambient air quality survey of industrial areas of ICT in February 2018, whereas the agency now regularly monitored industrial areas to assess the pollution status of ICT due to these industries.
In ICT, Pak-EPA, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ICCI) and all associations of industries were working together the first model green industrial zone of Pakistan and all necessary steps were being taken under the green and clean initiative of prime minister.
“Pak-EPA is also arranging lectures, seminars and workshops regarding the use and introduction of green technologies in the industrial sector to abate air pollution within the country with ICCI,” he said.
He went on to say that in this connection, a training and awareness session was conducted in Pak-EPA on April 9, 2019, wherein then 20 industries representing soap, pharmaceutical, steel flour, marble Industries and warehouses nominated by ICCI participated and who were imparted awareness regarding procedural and legal requirements for compliance of the provisions of PEP Act, 1997 and rules and regulations made thereunder.