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Monday June 24, 2024

497MGD untreated wastewater being dumped in sea, SHC told

By Jamal Khurshid
April 06, 2023

As many as 417 million gallons per day (MGD) of domestic effluent and 80 MGD of untreated industrial wastewater is being dumped into the sea and coastal areas of Karachi due to lack of comprehensive collection and treatment facilities for domestic sewage and industrial wastewater.

The information to this effect was provided by the Sindh Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa) to the Sindh High Court (SHC) on Wednesday.

Filing a report on the petition against the dumping of sewage and industrial waste into the sea, the Sepa director general informed the high court that such untreated water led to adverse effects on the marine ecosystem.

He submitted that 55 MGD of domestic effluent was being treated at treatment plants and presently 417 MGD of untreated sewage was being dumped in the sea.

The Sepa chief said that seven industrial zones of Karachi generated approximately 104 MGD of wastewater and around 80 MGD of that untreated water was being dumped into the sea. He submitted that the Sindh government had initiated projects of combined effluent treatment plants at various industrial zones in the city and agreed to release funds for the completion of those projects within due period of time.

He said the Sindh government also took an initiative to upgrade treatment plants so that municipal waste could be treated and the capacity of these plants could be enhanced, but no progress had so far been made for the implementation of the court directions.

Regarding discharge of untreated domestic effluent from DHA, he said DHA generated 8 MGD sewage and it had two treatment plants at the Golf Club and Qublai Khan which only had the capacity of 2.4 MGD and 2 MGD respectively for treatment of sewage, resulting in disposal of 3.33 MGD of sewage without treatment into the sea.

He submitted that the treatment plant of Qublai Khan treated around 1.2 to 1.4 MGD of sewage and the status of treatment plant at the Golf Club could not be ascertained as the Sepa team was not provided access to it.

The Sepa director suggested that all treatment plants as well as combined effluent treatment plants at industrial zones be completed as soon as possible and environmental laws be enforced to control wastewater pollution.

A division bench of the high court headed by Justice Aqeel Ahmed Abbasi after taking the report on record directed the Sepa DG to inspect the Golf Club sewage treatment plant as well as file a progress of other treatment plants in the city on the next hearing.

The SHC had earlier directed Sepa to carry out an inspection in the Sea View area near private restaurants to ascertain from how many places industrial waste and untreated sewage were being discharged into the sea.

The Cantonment Board Clifton (CBC) had told the court that a treatment plant had been constructed at Sea View, which was operational and all sewage and industrial waste was cleaned at the plant before it was dumped in the sea.

The CBC officials submitted that the cantonment board was not dumping any solid waste and garbage into the sea. The petitioners — World Wide Fund for Nature-Pakistan, Citizens for Better Environment (Shehri – CBE), Pakistan Animal Welfare Society and others —had approached the SHC seeking an injunction against the release of industrial waste and untreated sewage into the sea.

The petitioners’ counsel had stated that the acts and omissions of the civic agencies were not only destroying the marine life and disturbing the ecological balance, but their oversight was also affecting the health of citizens who visited the beach for recreation purposes.

The counsel had maintained that the locals living near the beaches commonly found corpses of endangered green turtles and other cetaceans that died due to water pollution. They said the sea was being polluted by sewage and requested the high court to direct the civic agencies to take steps for cleanliness of the beaches and ensure that sewage and industrial waste was not discharged into the sea.