Karachi dumps some 417 million gallons of raw and disease-laden sewage into its sea waters
KARACHI: Willfully and without regret, Karachi dumps some 417 million gallons of raw and disease-laden sewage into its sea waters. This includes both, industrial as well as domestic effluent — an amount enough to fill 550 Olympic-size swimming pools. Of the 472 million gallons sewage produced by the city every day, just about 55 million gallons receive some form of treatment. The three sewage treatment plants — total design capacity of 150 million gallons per day (MGD) — shamefully operate at one-third of their capacity and treat just about 55MGD.
As if the sewage dumping was not adequately catastrophic, the city also dumps 8,000 tonnes of solid waste into the harbour. The sewage is dumped into the sea at numerous locations. This activity is carried out in full view of the government departments concerned. They are also the ones that are mandated to prevent this crime.
Approximately 95 per cent of industries in Sindh do not comply with the legal limits imposed by the National Environmental Quality Standards (NEQS). The Environmental Protection Agency chooses not to proceed against these organisations. It is, thus, a party to crime against the environment and aquatic life. State organisations like the Karachi Water & Sewerage Board and the Sindh Environmental Protection Agency have been failing at performing their environment protection duties for the past several decades.
We demand the following: 1) the dumping of untreated sewage into ocean waters be immediately halted; 2) the NEQS be vigorously implemented for all industrial and municipal effluents and emissions, and the violating industries be heavily fined or closed down; 3) the three sewage treatment plants be made to run at their full capacity and more plants established to undertake complete treatment of the full load of effluent. The treated water must be reused for alternative applications, such as plantation, parks and agriculture; 4) it must be ensured that no municipal or industrial effluent is discharged to any drain, nullah, ground, lake or water body, except the channel approved by the government and the one that feeds to an effluent treatment plant; 5) The dumping of 8,000 tonnes of solid waste into harbour waters be stopped forthwith and arrangements be made for sending all solid waste to approved landfills.
Naeem Sadiq for Mahol Dost Shehri
Published in The Express Tribune, October 3rd, 2015.
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