* Industrial units stuck in residential areas causing land, air pollution
* Factories also causing difficulties for city planners to provide basic facilities
* Many rubber, steel industries discharging untreated effluent into River Ravi
By Afnan Khan
LAHORE: The cultural metropolis is being labeled the country’s most polluted city, as huge industrial units stuck in the middle of densely-populated areas are constantly adding to environmental degradation.
The situation has been created due to poor urban planning, illegal commercialisation of residential areas in the past, which is now posing serious health hazards for the citizens, especially those living in and around the Walled City. On the other hand, there are many industrial units as well, which were originally built in the suburbs but due to the city’s expansion, they are now included in residential areas.
City planning: Not only are these factories posing a hazard to the lives of 10 million citizens of Lahore, but are also making it difficult for the city planners to provide proper sanitation, gas, electricity and other facilities to residents of the surrounding areas. The presence of steel and rubber industries are thought to be causing the worst environmental pollution, as compared to mills producing papers, flour, plastic products, leather, soft drinks and other edibles.
Untreated waste: Senior officials of the Environment Department told Daily Times a large number of steel and rubber-related industrial units present in and around the historic Walled City were mainly responsible for air and land pollution along with the increasing traffic throughout the city. Most of these industries were discharging untreated effluent, both liquid and solid especially into the River Ravi. Furnace and scrap industries have been found to be adding to environmental pollution as they use wasted tyres, rubber and other hazardous materials as fuel.
Health and environment experts said the constantly-degrading environment was contributing to a large number of diseases among the people of Lahore. Industries refuse to install waste treatment plants as they prefer cost saving over preserving the environment. Lawyer and environmentalist Rafay Alam, while talking to Daily Times, said, “All previous governments are equally responsible for the poor state of the city’s environment,” adding that it was the government which was to be blamed for the non-implementation of environment laws as they fail to clamp down on rich industrialists due to influence and money. He said it was the time the government took concrete steps to clear the skies and lands of the beautiful city of Lahore.
Courtesy: Daily Times