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National

April 16, 2018

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Pollution onrise in Khanpur due to stone crushing plants

KHANPUR: Contrary to the claims made by the provincial environmental protection authorities, air and noise pollution are increasing in Khanpur where stone crushing plants continue to operate contributing to pollution and spreading asthmatic and lungs diseases.

The district administration of Haripur has further facilitated the crush owners by removing the speed bumps from Khanpur town, which has increased the dust pollution spreading by the dumpers, but also threatened the life of their children for continuous movement of heavy dumpers and trucks throughout the day and night.

The Communication & Works Department has removed all seven speed breakers in Khanpur town a few days ago, which was irritating the crush and dumper owners in their mobility. But locals say the speed bumps should not have been removed.

Asthma and other respiratory diseases are on the rise in the area. More than 15 stone plants have been blasting and crushing stones in Khanpur, the town once known for citrus fruits. Clouds of dust can be seen hovering over the area where the plants are operating - a proof of lack of adoption of environment-friendly measures by the plants' operators.

Malik Muhammad Iqbal, who has lodged his complaint before director general, Environmental Protecting Agency, told The News that due to stone crushing plants in Khanpur, heavy traffic plies the town's roads, not only causing traffic accidents but also spreading lungs diseases. He further said that the government authorities were least bothered to take action against the influential mine owners.

Similarly, residents of Khanpur have repeatedly lodged complaints against the illegal movement of heavy and loaded dumpers from 3pm to 7am daily in the residential area of Khanpur town, but the district administration seems to be powerless to take any action. A number of people while requesting anonymity told this correspondent that the movement of dumpers in the residential area created noise and air pollution and also created life threat to the movement of their children.

The Industries Department should develop an alternate road if they fail to close the stone crushing units instead of using thickly populated town road for the purpose, they argued. They alleged that local police has been patronising Afghan nationals who run multiple businesses under the banner of stone crushing machines.

A pulmonologist, Dr Nisar Khan, said that long-term exposure to polluted air can have bad effects on lungs and causes diseases like asthma, bronchitis and emphysema. High air pollution levels can cause immediate health problems including aggravated cardiovascular and respiratory illness and damaged cells in the respiratory system, he added.

Secretary Environment Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Syed Nazar Shah, when contacted by the phone, assured to take up the matter with director general, Environment Protection Agency.

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