RESIDENTS of Mustafa Town, a locality on Wahdat Road, are forced to put up with stinking smell and poisonous gasses emanating from a landfill site used by the Punjab University (New Campus) to dump and burn its garbage.
Mustafa Town is located only 200 meters from the university’s private landfill site. The site is maintained unscientifically and it had been polluting ground water and environment for the last two years.
Mustafa Town residents said pollution caused by burning garbage had ruined their lives, claiming PU staffers dumped at least three trolleys of garbage at this landfill site everyday.
Residents of the colony said smoke engulfed the entire locality when PU staffers burnt garbage and residents had no option but to breathe poisonous gasses emanating from the burning garbage. People were contracting diseases from these poisonous gasses, they remarked.
“My family now only dreams of breathing fresh air,” said Muhammad Amir, a resident of Mustafa Town. “You can not imagine the stench of garbage that invades our nostrils if wind blows from the direction of the landfill site towards Mustafa Town,” he said. He said several children in the society had developed asthma from breathing poisonous smoke.
Omar, another resident, said his entire family was suffering from breathing problems. He said his house was closest in the society to the landfill site. He said he had desperately tried to sell his home but no one was willing to buy it due to its proximity to the site.
Mushtaq, another resident of Mustafa Town, said the landfill site polluted ground water of the area during rains. He said despite requests, PU authorities had not stopped disposing of garbage near the colony.
He said the landfill site was threatening to ‘bury’ the colony under garbage. He warned of protests if PU authorities kept up this practice.
Residents said that they were running pillar to post but neither the government nor the PU was ready to give them relief. “We filed applications with the Punjab governor, the Punjab chief minister’s Complaint Cell, the Punjab Environment Department, the City District Government Lahore (CDGL) and the vice-chancellor of the Punjab University. Regrettably, we got a very cold response,” Omar said. He said residents had decided to approach human rights organisations and the Supreme Court of Pakistan to get relief.
Naseemur Rehman, a senior officer of the Punjab Environment Department, said that private housing colonies and other organisations were allowed to build landfill sites but only in accordance with specifications and design issued by the Pakistan Environment Protection Department. He said if the Punjab University was operating a landfill site then it should match the department’s specifications and design otherwise action will be taken against the varsity. He said the department had not received any formal complaint from residents. He said the department will investigate the issue and will take action to solve problems faced by residents of Mustafa Town.
When contacted, the Punjab University registrar said the issue was not in his notice. He said he will take action if any complainant from the society approached him.
Source: The News