40 pc people in KP consuming Contaminated Water

PESHAWAR, July 16: The Peshawar High Court on Thursday observed that over 40 per cent of the people in the province had been consuming contaminated water resulting in spread of various waterborne diseases.

The bench was hearing a writ petition filed by Fazal Hussain and several other residents of Karak district, requesting for quashing an FIR registered against them in Karak for staging a protest demonstration against an international oil and gas exploration company there.

A two-member bench comprising Justice Dost Mohammad Khan and Justice Yahya Afridi observed that hospitals were filled with patients suffering from waterborne diseases but the concerned departments had turned a blind eye towards improving the situation.

Justice Dost Mohammad observed that according to a report of an international organisation, inhabitants of almost all the localities had been consuming contaminated water.

The petitioners claimed that a large number of people had staged the demonstration against MOL Company as they believed that the waste generated by the company had been contaminating water resources in Karak.

The bench directed the concerned district coordination officer and district police officer to resolve the issue through negotiations.

It was observed that foreign investors had been investing in that area and for that reason steps should be taken for peaceful co-existence between the company and the community.

It was added that it would be better to convene a jirga of elders for resolving the matter in peaceful manner.

The director general of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Environmental Agency, Dr Bashir informed the bench that they had taken samples from various water sources and found the complaints of the residents incorrect. He added that in certain samples there were concentration of certain minerals but that was a normal phenomenon in Karak and was not because of the company.

The bench inquired from him why they had not been taking steps for improving the environment, especially about the issue of water contamination.

Dr Bashir stated that they had booked the officials of different town administrations and the Peshawar Development Authority and they were also fined by the environmental protection tribunal.

He added that presently the tribunal had been without a chairperson due to which several cases had been pending.

The director general stated that a plan was underway to set up waste recycling plants in district headquarter hospitals across the province and the major hospitals in provincial capital and big cities.

He also stated that they had established VETS (Vehicle Emission testing Service) for checking vehicular emissions.

He pointed out that the level of carbon in diesel here was more as compared to the internationally permissible level as the diesel here was of low quality.

He added that despite their requests to the government no steps were taken in this regard.

Courtesy Dawn News Dated June 17th,2011

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