Faisalabad is witnessing a gradual increase in air and environmental pollution, largely due to the burning of extremely substandard fuel in sizing factories and kilns.
The Department of Environmental Protection’s continued silence has exacerbated the problem.
Citizens are suffering from asthma, runny nose and other ailments while medical experts have termed the growing air and environmental pollution in Faisalabad as extremely worrisome this season. Commissioner Faisalabad Division Zahid Hussain had issued clear orders that no substandard fuel would be used in the boilers of any factory in the district for the prevention of air and environmental pollution, and those who violate this order will have to file a lawsuit against the factory owner and the industrial units will face heavy fines and shutdowns.
These orders of Divisional Commissioner Zahid Hussain have been implemented for some time but with the change of the head of Environment Protection Department, these orders have been restricted to files only. Sizing and kilns have been given free reins to use substandard fuel, which has led to a steady increase in air and environmental pollution in Faisalabad.
At present there are more than 100 sizing factory units in Faisalabad district, out of which about 70% of the sizing units are using plastic, rexine, linen cloth and other extremely defective items as fuel. Similarly, about 400 brick kilns are also receiving complaints about the use of substandard fuel. In this situation, on one hand, air and environmental pollution is increasing while on the other hand, the silence of the district head of the Department of Environmental Protection has become a big question mark.
According to sources, the district head of environment department is being accused of colluding with the factory owners to verbally allow sizing factories to use substandard fuel despite the ban. And in return they are being charged with receiving Rs15,000 to Rs20,000 per sizing factory per month. Inspectors of Department of Environmental Protection are barred from visiting these factories, while the private persons of the district head of the department visit these sizing factories and kilns and collect money from them.
Chimneys of more than 70 sizing factories and 400 kilns in Faisalabad are emitting extremely harmful smoke, day and night. Due to which, on one hand the temperature of the city is rising while on the other hand the environment of the city has become extremely polluted. It should be noted that Faisalabad was one of the most polluted cities in the country last winter after which new SOPs were issued by the higher authorities for the factory owners and kilns in which a ban on the use of substandard fuel was given priority.
But now that the ban has been lifted, the city’s atmosphere has become toxic, putting citizens’ lives at risk. Citizens are currently suffering from other diseases, including asthma, sore throat, nose and eyes. In this regard, medical experts say that the increase in air and environmental pollution in Faisalabad is extremely worrying, and on a daily basis, thousands of people are coming to the hospital suffering from nose, throat, eye and respiratory diseases.
He clarified that if this situation persisted and the use of substandard fuel in factories was not stopped, the toxic fumes emitted from the chimneys would create a very frightening atmosphere for the citizens of Faisalabad. In this regard, Deputy Director Environmental Protection Department Farhat Abbas Kamoka said that he had no authority to take action against any factory or kiln and he was doing what was in his power.