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Islamabad: Brick kilns issue lingers on

ISLAMABAD: As the action is still awaited even after one month of the delivery of Environmental Protection Orders (EPOs) to owners, the brick kilns in Islamabad’s vicinity continue to pollute the environment.

According to officials at the Environment Ministry, the EPOs were served on owners on March 18, however the Brick Kiln Association office-bearers claimed that they received these orders in first week of April.

Even if these orders were served during first week of April, the one-month deadline under the EPOs is fast approaching and yet no further movement on the issue is evident.

Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency (Pak-EPA) had issued Environmental Protection Orders (EPOs) to 12 brick kilns situated in vicinity of Benazir International Airport, asking them to stop functioning or shift elsewhere within one month.

“The EPOs have been issued under Environmental Protection Act 1997, due to rising pollution in the area and poor visibility faced by the landing and taking off planes,” the official said.

When asked about legal proceedings for failing to implement EPOs, the EPA officials said, section 16 of the Environmental Protection Act provided for fine up to Rs 1 million and after expiry of the deadline Rs 100,000 per day fine for all the lapsed days.

“If they failed to abide by, the EPA would move the Environmental Tribunal for action,” the official said.

He however said, under the law, the brick kiln owners could also move the Environmental Tribunal for remedy within the period of the EPO.

In case of non-implementation of the EPO, the official said, the EPA could also seek assistance of the ICT administration for removal of kilns, through an administrative order.

Also being a stakeholder, the Capital Development Authority has mentioned to identification of land for shifting of brick kilns to Chak Beli, near Rawat on GT Road.

“The brick kiln owners will themselves purchase the land as CDA would not be allotting them any land,” an official at the CDA’s Urban Planning Wing informed this news agency.

Brick kilns pollution is a lingering on issue, as both the side could not reach a conclusion even after series of meetings, either to shift them to another place or introduce an alternate technology for them.

Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has also been continuously complaining of pollution and poor visibility claiming that it could result in serious accident.

Series of meetings were held with the Brick Kiln Association where the owners had assured to opt for alternative technology with zero pollution, but the implementation on their part was still awaited. app
Source: Daily Times

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