KARACHI - Five mega effluent treatment plants have been designed for Karachi at the cost of Rs.12 billion to treat the industrial wastewater.

The federal and Sindh governments approved these plants by committing to share the cost. The tender documents are under preparation and the project is expected to be launched soon, Sindh Water Commission (SWC) chief Amir Hani Muslim stated at a seminar on "Industrial Wastewater Management" here on Saturday.

The seminar was organized by the US-Pakistan Centre for Advanced Studies in Water (USPCAS-W), Mehran University of Engineering and Technology. Delivering the keynote address as chief guest, Hani, who is a retired judge of the Sindh High Court, said that five huge effluent treatment plants have been designed for SITE, Lyari Zone, F.B. Area, North Karachi Zone, Landhi/Korangi Zone and Superhighway SITE Phase-II.

He told the audience that the commission got the Nooriabad effluent treatment requirements studied and a new combined effluent treatment plant for Nooriabad Industrial Area worth Rs400 million is at the procurement stage now. Work on ground is expected to begin within a month's time, he said.

Likewise, the Kotri Industrial Area effluent treatment plant is about to go for upgradation and rehabilitation at the cost of Rs90 million, he stated. Speaking about the steps taken by the commission since its inception, he stated that on its intervention rules to regulate use of subsurface water for industrial use have been framed for the first time.

He revealed that there was no data on industries available when the commission was created. “The data as to how many and which industrial units were complying with the primary treatment requirements and otherwise was not available," he added.

Justice Hani said that the commission through the Sindh Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) is going to complete a detailed survey on the status of compliance of its directives for installation of treatment plants in SITE Karachi, Korangi Industrial Area, F.B. Area, North Karachi Industrial Area, Industrial Hub in Ibrahim Haidri Area, SITE, Super Highway-4, Landhi, Industrial Area, and industries at Port Qasim, etc.

He said that hundreds of industrial units have already installed primacy treatment facilities and hundreds more are in the process of compliance. He observed that the commission did not stop at making the industrial units fulfil their obligation to the extent of primary treatment alone. "The commission rather continuously persuaded the provincial and the federal governments to fulfil their obligation regarding secondary and tertiary treatment of industrial effluent," he stated.

Speaking on the occasion, Sindh Minister for Climate Change, Coastal Development, Information, Science and Technology Nawabzada Muhammad Taimour Talpur said that a focused approach was needed to improve the management of wastewater treatment in the province.

Speaking as chief guest at the second session of the seminar, the minister said the next world war might be fought on water so water is a very much precious commodity the human beings have, but it is diminishing day by day. He said that instead of using shower for five minutes “all of us misuse it for 20 minutes”.

He said that “instead of environment friendly we become habitual of using anti-environment practices like plastics, vehicles having higher emissions, and wasting water in huge quantities”. He said that before creation of the water commission, the SEPA was working without any direction. Now due to efforts of Justice (r) Amir Hani Muslim, he said, the commission was heading in the right direction. He said that educated people should come forward to solve the problems faced by people.