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Burning of used tyres a bane of Okara residents

Burning of used tyres a bane of Okara residents

OKARA: Burning of used tyres as fuel at brick kilns and absence of treatment plants in industrial units is causing environment pollution in the district, while the officials responsible for checking these illegal practices are not bothered.

As old tyres are considered a low-cost fuel, these are illegally used in brick kilns, small manufacturing units, barbers’ saloons (for heating water in winter) etc, contributing to air pollution in the area.

As the local environment protection officials are turning a blind eye to the practice, many shops have sprung in the district, including the area surrounding the general bus stand, Rehman Colony, Allah Dad Colony, Baba Farid Super Market, Sabir Pia Town and Bhaian Wala Karkhana, where used tyres are being openly sold.

The local staff of the environment protection department comprises only four officials who don’t seem to have any serious interest in checking such illegal practices.

Environment protection department’s Assistant Director Numan Yousaf said that under the Punjab Local Government Act 2013, burning used tyres as fuel at brick kilns and other units was a criminal offence. He said such an offender could be fined up to Rs5,000 if a case was registered against him.

He added that the burning of tyres in the brick kilns caused sulpher emissions in the environment that resulted in lungs and other breathing issues among the effected people.

Similarly, untreated emissions from sugar mills situated on Okara-Faisalabad Road some five kilometer away from the city was another source of air pollution in the district.

The residents of villages, including 33/2-R, 38/2-R, 32/2-R, 35/2-R have to suffer because of the untreated emissions from sugar mills in the area the during the four-month long cane crushing season.

The area union council chairman and a resident of 33/2-R village Malik Afzal Wattoo advocate lamented that despite repeated complaints the sugar mills administrations did not install any plant to treat these emissions.

The residents have demanded that the government should strictly enforce environment protection law in district to improve the situation.

Published in Dawn, July 23rd, 2017

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