SIALKOT  -  The large scale emission of black smoke from the burners of brick kilns spreads environmental pollution in almost all the urban and rural areas leaving bad impact on the human lives.

The environmental pollution caused by the kilns is a big challenge for the the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) which remained unable to take action against the owners of the bricks kilns.

District administration officials said that there were a total of 361 kilns in the Sialkot, Daska, Sambrial and Pasrur tehsils.  Most of the brick kilns were established several decades ago and now have become in the thickly populated areas.

Some local people said that they were suffering from serious health hazards including breath, lungs, chest, stomach and liver diseases due to the kiln smoke.

According to the local officials of the district administrations, the shifting of these kilns to the other places was not possible as their owners were not  agreed to the idea.

Local senior health experts revealed that the emissions of several harmful gases like carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and particulate matter from burning of coals in brick kilns cause serious respiratory diseases like bronchitis and asthma. Moreover, these pollutants weaken the immune system of the human beings.

Dr Munim Javaid said that there is another substance which is called poly-aromatic hydrocarbon that is found in smoke emitted from factories of brick-making and it causes vomiting, diarrhea, eye irritation, nausea and disorientation while in the long run it may also cause renal diseases and even cancer.

Dr Sundas Pervaiz revealed that for the people of advanced nations the concept of brick kiln pollution might be uncommon and they may be thinking that how a brick kiln can cause pollution because it is so state-of-the-art factory.

She added that but in less developed and backward countries it is a killer pollution which not only harms the health of the workers of a kiln but all those living in its surroundings.

When contacted, Environment Protection Agency (EPA) officials added that the brick kilns emit more smoke than any other normal factory because here burning process takes long time to solidify the bricks from mud and low quality coal is used in the process which causes more pollution.

Some local social workers including Abdul Shakur Mirza, Arif Mehmood Sheikh, Arsalan Khan, Bashir Hussain, Nasir Mehmood  and Ghulam Rasul narrated that the working conditions of kiln labourers are the worst. Men and women of downtrodden communities without any knowledge of their rights and privileges work in intense heat without any medical facility.

If any of them face any burns no one care about they and layoff is the only solution. Despite burn injuries, workers keep working without complaining of any problem. Their wages are also next to nothing and they can’t reject petty wages because of their poverty, they added.

Expressing grave concern over the situation, the local people urged Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar, Commissioner Gujranwala Division Asad Ullah Faiz and Sialkot Deputy Commissioner Muhammad Tahir Wattu to take notice of the situation.