Islamabad - Smoke emitting factories and hundreds of trucks entering and leaving I-9 industrial area everyday are causing air and noise pollution in the area.

Environmental experts told this agency that the number of noise, dust and smoke complaints from the area was increasing with each passing day. The residents, specially asthma and allergy patients, in the 1-9 Sector, attribute their problem to the heavy presence of smoke and dust in the industrial area.  Tahir Mubeen, an asthma patient, told this agency that hundreds of trucks entered and left the area. Over 200 trucks use the Potohar Road daily where his shop was located.        

He alleged that the Capital Development Authority did not ensure cleanliness in the sector. The CDA sweepers were rarely seen in the area. Mohsin Ali, a resident of the same sector complained that scores of trucks that use the road daily create a lot of noise and pollution.

Subhan Ali, another I-9 resident, said throat, nasal and lung problems are very common in the area, adding that the government should not built apartments in localities adjacent to the industrial area.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) Allergy Centre’s laboratory expert said that the air quality in a city can be judged by measuring the levels of particulate matter (PM) in the air. He said there are different types of particles, some are larger and visible but harmless, others are smaller, invisible and hazardous to health. Polyclinic Executive Director Dr Zahid said that noise and air pollution is injurious to health and smoking emitted by trucks could cause respiratory infections, exacerbations of bronchial asthma, and high blood pressure also. Further, he added, the smoke contained carcinogens that could cause cancer. He said the dust could cause respiratory problems. Islamabad Traffic Police inspector Zubair Abbasi said that trucks could only use link roads to enter or leave the city.

CDA Environment Protection Cell official said the civic body had warned factories against polluting environment through notices.

 and would proceed against the smoke emitting or effluent discharging industrial units.  

He informed that environment protection laws were also being amended.

Environmental Protection Agency  (EPA) Director General Khurshid Ahmed said the phenomenon has been going on for a while, adding that pollution from Rawalpindi also affects the air quality of the capital.

He said that EPA along with ICT has taken some steps to improve air quality, including encouraging new technology to clean the gasses released by steel mills in sectors 1-9 and 1-10. “The new equipment are more effective than the old technology being used right now,” Khurshid said.

Islamabad is now close to crossing 1.6 million population mark, and its six percent per annum growth rate makes it the fastest growing city in Pakistan. “The future regarding air quality is bad for this city. This situation, which is bad right now, would be four times worse in the next ten years,” said Khurshid.