ISLAMABAD (PPI) - The noise and air pollution is on rise in different localities of Rawalpindi posing great threat to the human health, as authorities concerned failed to tackle the situation.
The Rawalpindi localities including Westridge, Dhoke Khabba, Railway Colony and the vast area of Rawalpindi Cantt are in grip of severs air and noise pollution.
The main reason of pollution was the illegally established marble factories.
In a survey conducted by 'PPI reveals the marble factories was causing noise and air pollution and posing a direct threat to human health.
It learnt during the survey that some factories have been established without approval from Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Punjab in the above areas.
The data collected from different government and non-government bodies, about 40 percent marble factories have been centred in Sector I-9 and Rawalpindi Cantt, and 20 percent in Tarnol and Sangjani.
These factories and units deal with cutting, polishing, carving and grooving of 200-300 tons of marble stone averagely daily.
Seventy percent of the stone comes in semi-crude form from Lasbella, Loralai and other parts of North-West Frontier Province (NWFP).
The twin cities are a big market of fine marble products in Potohar region.
The process to make raw stone into fine products needs a large quantity of water, which is running short in residential areas.
Besides environmental problems, these factories cause traffic jams when the stone is unloaded from heavy-duty containers that have to be parked on narrow roads of the city for quite some time.
Marble processing: During marble processing, 30 percent stone turns to scrap because of its raw shape.
This is then sold chip by chip to small-scale manufacturers.
The waste matter is water-mixed marble powder.
The factories use this powder until it dries up and then put it out in the open where it caked, blocking all sorts of penetration to and from soil.
Sometimes, this waste is thrown into open drains (nullahs) ultimately blocking them.
The absence of a proper dump for this waste is the main part of this problem.
In water-less marble processing, this fine powder is discharged into the air from factories, which is a direct source of respiratory diseases.
Factory workers and people of the area are first-hand victim to these diseases.
Environmentalist opinion: The fine marble dust covers the ground and prevents rain water from seeping into the soil, Dr Sheikh Saeed, an environmentalist working with Fatima Jinnah Women University, told He said marble dust destroyed plants as it reduced access of the leaves to sunlight and air, besides creating health problems.
He said this powder in solid form created biological degradation of the soil where it was dumped.
Doctors say marble-related pollution caused lungs and skin diseases.
Hundreds of citizens have complained to the authorities against the pollution caused by marble factories but no one has heeded.

This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 20-Nov-2010 here.