Environment is the most conveniently expendable commodity in Lahore especially for the apparently lavish housing societies spread across the metropolis against environmental laws.
These housing societies vow of being the posh dream destinations for anyone seeking to build their homes, yet they have chosen to ignore the basic right of every individual - clean environment.
As much as 70 housing societies are in blatant violation of the National Environmental Quality Standards (NEQs). These societies are bagging major profits at the cost of long and short term environmental damage to the rapidly expanding provincial metropolis.
The Environment Protection department Punjab has issued notices to all these colonies over the violations committed and has asked them to explain the reasons for nonconformity with environmental laws.
Many of these housing societies have been built without conduction of the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) which evaluates impact on environment due to establishment of a colony. This EIA is the basis for the provision of NOC from the EPD which decides whether a colony can be built or not. For ecample, two elite housing projects, after the environmental survey, were found guilty of discharging untreated sewage into the Hudiara Drain and indiscriminate disposal of solid waste. More startling was the fact that the very establishment of this housing colony was done without the approval of the Environmental Protection Department.
A similar situation was witnessed at Raiwind Road where untreated sewage is being injected into the subsoil polluting the water table. No sewage treatment has been installed. The EPD also observed that the colony had been built without any EIA and the NOC had not been obtained.
These housing schemes include: Eden Gardens, Eden Garden Extension; Aitcheson College Staff Cooperative Housing Society, Canal Bank Housing Scheme, Rizwan Gardens near Jallo Park, Hajveri Housing Scheme Harbanspura, Lahore Medical Housing Scheme Phase-I North Canal Bank, Al-Rehman Garden Phase-IV main canal Road, Canal Forts-II near BRB Canal, Tulsupra Town Harbanspura and IBL Homes main Canal Road have been established without the approval of the EPD. In addition to these another major fast growing chain of housing authority with one at Raiwind Road near Thokar Niaz Beig and in all major cities of the country has established its housing colonies without any environmental approval. This means that no assessment of any possible environmental hazard being caused by the establishment of these housing societies has been conducted.
In addition to the aforementioned societies LCCI (Abpara Housing Society), Canal Bank Society Multan Road Lahore, EME Sector Housing Society Canal Bank, Muhafiz Town Housing Society Canal Bank Society Multan Road Lahore, PASCO Housing Society Canal Bank Society Multan Road Lahore, Gulbahar Housing Society Canal Bank Society Multan Road Lahore, Eden Canal Villas Housing Society Canal Bank Society Multan Road Lahore, Doctors’ Housing Society Canal Bank Society Multan Road Lahore, Westwood Housing Society Housing Society Canal Bank Society Multan Road Lahore, Rajput Society Canal Bank Society Multan Road Lahore, Green Fort-2 Housing Society Canal Bank Society Multan Road Lahore, PND Society Canal Bank Society Multan Road Lahore, Iqbal Avenue Society Canal Bank Society Multan Road Lahore, Izmair Housing Society Canal Bank Society Multan Road Lahore, NESPAK Society Canal Bank Society Multan Road Lahore, Punjab Board of Revenue Employees Housing Society Johar Town, Engineering University Emplyees Cooperative Society Sattukatla, Government Servant Cooperative Housing Society, Irrigation Cooperative Housing Society Kot Lakhpat, Nasheman-e-Iqbal Cooperative Housing Society, Al-Ejaz Cooperative Housing Society, Revenue Employees Housing Society College Road Ghausia Chowk, State Enterprise Officers Housing Society, Multan Road Lahore, Friends Mutual Cooperative Housing Society Multan Road Lahore, Canal View Cooperative Housing Society Multan Road Lahore, Canal Bank Cooperative Housing Society, Gosha-e-Ahbab Cooperative Housing Society Multan Road Lahore, LDA Employees Cooperative Housing Society Multan Road Lahore, Jammiat Cooperative housing Society Gulshan Ravi, PCSIR Cooperative Housing Society Opp. Doctors Hospital, P&D Department Cooperative Housing Society, Military Accounts Cooperative Housing Society College Road, AlRahman Garden Phase III, Telecommunication Employees Cooperative Housing Society, Ghouse Garden Phase II Manawan, Al Karim Garden Manawan, Jurist Homes Cooperative Housing Society, Audit & Accounts Cooperative Housing Society, Punjab Small Industries Cooperative Housing Society, Awaisia Cooperative Housing Society College Road, Accounts Group Officers Cooperative Housing Society College Road, Abdalians Cooperative Housing Society, Alpha Cooperative Housing Society Canal Bank, River View Cooperative Housing Society Raiwind Road, Punjab Excise & Taxation Cooperative Housing Society Raiwind Road, Modal Town Cooperative Hosuing Society Kalma Chowk, PIA Employees Cooperative Housing Society near WAPDA Town, WAPDA Employees Cooperative Housing Society, Model Awan Cooperative Housing Society Multan Road, Islamia College Old Boys Cooperative Housing Society Mansoora, Sui Northern Gas Employees Cooperative Housing Society Canal bank, Education town Cooperative Housing Society Multan road, Kakazai Cooperative Housing Society Defense Road, Muslim Nagar Cooperative Housing Society Raiwind Road, NFC Employees Cooperative Housing Society Phase II Multan Road, Sukh Chain Cooperative Housing Society Multan Raod, Jafferia Cooperative Housing Society Bund Road Lahore, Cooperative Housing Society Lahore High Court, Pakistan Technocrats Cooperative Housing Society Niaz Beig, Punjab Government Employees Cooperative Housing Society Ghazi Chowk, Engineers Town Cooperative Housing Society Defense Road, Superior Services Cooperative Housing Society Canal Bank and Jubilee Town Canal Bank have issued notices by the EPD
The main violation by these societies is the injection of untreated sewage directly into ground through soakage-pits as many of them don’t have an established sewerage.
Hydrologist Dr Ibret Anwar Sheikh told The News that in raw sewage through the use of soakage pits is criminal as it enters directly into the ground water table and causes high level of contamination. He went on to say that most main sewers in Lahore are between 30-50ft below ground level and are made of 10ft cement sections linked without proper safety seals. Poor connections combined with deteriorating low quality sewer pipes cause a lot of leakage. This outflow from sewer mixes with the water table and the contamination is carried to deeper levels.