LAHORE - Disposal of hazardous waste of industrial units and lack of proper ventilation system have increased incidents of drain blasts in thickly populated areas, putting lives of citizens at risk. Besides polluting air, industries in residential areas or in their close vicinities are disposing untreated wastewater that is causing accumulation of gases in the underground drains, posing serious threat to lives of people.Minor drain explosions on May 21, 22 and 23 in Misri Shah caused panic among residents who held continuous accumulation of gasses due to improper disposal of chemicals and wastewater of factories responsible for blasts, saying continuity of this practice could lead to major mishap in the heart of city. They alleged that the government was not stopping factories from disposing of acids and untreated hazardous waste that was causing accumulation of gasses. Accumulation of sewerage gasses and chemical reaction of acids is causing drain blasts, they said, adding that lack of proper ventilation had put lives and property of residents at risk. Soon after drain blasts, teams of various departments came into action and started adopting measures quite usual in such circumstances to relax nerves of locals. Environment Department sealed four factories and served notices to another three for disposing of hazardous chemicals and acids in drains. The department sealed Shahbaz Wire Drawing for disposing of HCL and H2SO4, Bilal Galvanizing for ZNCL2, Boric Acid and HCL, Munawar Chemical for Ammonia Lacquer, Chloroform and Formic Acid and Younas Tent Dying for Citric Acid, Ammonia Lacquer, Bleaching and Caustic Acid. The Department served notices to Lion Galvanizing and Khalifa Galvanizing for disposing of HCL, Zn, NH4CL and Lime and Haji Lead Battery for H2SO4. Wasa officials believed that leaked of gas from SNGPL line or any service line could be responsible for recent drain blasts in Misri Shah. They said that excessive Methane (CH4) contents were found from sewerage water where blasts occurred. Wasa Deputy Managing Director Syed Iqtidar Shah said that excessive methane contents could have caused drain blasts in Misri Shah. “Teams of Environment Department and experts visited the site after blasts. They found excessive methane contents in sewerage which could be due to sui gas leakage. Exact reason of drain blasts could be given after receiving findings of experts. Gas supply has been suspended to avoid any mishap”, he said, adding, the SNGPL team was trying to trace and fix leakage problem. To a question regarding ventilation in Misri Shah Drain, Syed Iqtidar Shah said that there was proper mechanism to vent sewerage gases. “Fourteen feet wide main drain is laid at 10 feet depth. There are 88 chimneys at different points and main ventilation pipe at Raza Chowk to vent sewerage gasses. As such there is no issue of accumulation of sewerage gasses and reaction of acids. Leakage of gas pipe could have caused these blasts. The situation will get clear after getting report of experts”, he said.This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 26-May-2014 here.