LAHORE   -  Burning of solid waste continued unchecked at open spaces and all illegal dumping sites in the city despite ban on this hazardous practice. Though burning of garbage is illegal throughout the year, the Punjab government has imposed 144CrPC to prohibit this polluting activity till December 16 to avoid smog this season.

Contractors and scavengers continue to carry out the polluting activity for different reasons, destroying the garbage for freeing space for future needs or taking molten plastic for selling to steel industries for usage as fuel.

As per the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials, there are 11 illegal dumping sites in different areas of Lahore in addition to small ones in unattended open spaces in close vicinity of housing schemes. Goppey Raye near Kattar Bund Road, opposite WASA Disposal Station Sabzazar, along Sherakot Drain near F, J and L blocks of Sabzazar, Turkey Camp near C-Block Marghazar, Audit and Accounts Society College Road, opposite Nisar Spinning Mill Sundar-Raiwind Road, Kacha near Ferozepur Road, Kamahan Road near Azam Chowk and Gawala Colony near Harbanspura are major illegal dumping sites in Lahore.

As per an estimate, more than 2,000 tonnes of solid waste are dumped daily on these illegal dumping sites.

Janitorial staff of private housing schemes burn solid waste at open places nearby to keep space for future needs. Contractors burn garbage at illegal dumping sites for the same reason. Scavengers burn plastic material like shopping bags to get molten PVC plastic for selling to steel industries.

“Irresponsible and cruel people have turned thickly populated area to a hell by dumping and burning garbage in the close vicinity”, said Nisar Ahmed, a resident of K-Block Johar Town. He complained of omitting unbearable foul smell when janitorial staff of nearby housing schemes set garbage ablaze at open space adjacent to Punjab School on Shan Bhatti Road.  “Heaps of garbage are gaining height day by day. The situation is worse when the solid waste is set ablaze by scavengers for getting molten plastic. We feel itching of eyes and difficulty in breathing when the garbage is burnt,” said, Rana Muhammad Naseer, a resident of Sabzazar close to Shera Kot Drain.

“Directions of stopping burning of garbage are merely an eye wash. The activity is going on and you could see thick smoke emitting from illegal sites in the close vicinity of Motorway”, said Bilal Ahmed who witnessed this scene while he was travelling on Motorway near Babu Sabu Interchange on last Sunday in the evening.

EPA Director Nasimur Rehman Shah said that the government has already imposed CrPC144, banning such hazardous activity from October 1 to December 16. He said that the move was aimed at stopping the pollution from going to the level of smog formation. “Burning of solid waste is serious threat for environment. The relevant officers have been asked to check polluting activities. Hopefully, strict enforcement of Local Government Act will help improving the situation,” he said.