‘Pyrolysis plants’ mafia continues polluting environment

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LAHORE – Despite the ‘warnings and mild actions’ of the authorities concerned, the pyrolysis plants (tyre recycling units) mafia is running its dirty business in the City to pollute the environment.

The functioning of such plants not only rejects the claims of Commissioner Lahore Capt (retd) Muhammad Usman Younas for demolishing such plants but the Prime Minister also who has a deep concern to keep the environment clean.

It is worth mentioning here that these very plants are one of the major reasons for smog in the provincial capital. Moreover, such plants are also in full swing in Gujranwala the hometown of EPD minister Muhammad Rizwan, and Sheikhupura district.

For their toxic and hazardous emissions, Punjab Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had sealed them several times in the past but owners of these plants used to restart their dirty business after removing seals and with the active connivance of authorities concerned.

With the beginning of winter in October 2021, the Punjab Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) banned all industries involved in contributing to smog, including brick kilns, furnace mills, and pyrolysis plants.

All the departments concerned were also directed to play their due role in curbing the smog by stopping the smog-causing factors. After the directions of authorities, many industrial units stopped their work or installed the systems to minimize the emission of toxic smoke.

To curb the growing threat of smog, PDMA, along with deputy commissioner Lahore, formed different squads to take action against all the polluters.

These anti-smog squads comprised of officials from EPA, Water and Sanitation Agency, Municipal Corporation Lahore and other departments sealed a score of industrial units found in violation. Then authorities adopted a new strategy and started demolishing several smog-causing units, smog squads claimed to demolish all tyre pyrolysis plants from Lahore.

According to the statements issued by Commissioner Lahore and Deputy Commissioner Lahore offices all 18 pyrolysis plants working in Mehmood Booti area had been demolished under the supervision of Shalimar Town’s Assistant Commissioner Tehniyat Bukhari. These plants include MSRR, MS Haroon Farooq, MS Shoiab, Saleem Roshan, MS Tayyab, MS Daud, MS Azeem Kasuri, MS Waqas Akbar, MS Gohar Ali, Sohail, Ayaz, Naeem Haron, Saleem, Zulfiqar, Ahmed Butt, MS Sheikh Irfan, Ramzan and others.

Officials claimed that such plants were extracting over 100,000 liters of cheap and low-cost furnace and crude oil from used tyres while in this process they were also producing hundreds of tons of carbon powder which was being released in the air.

During a visit to the area, this can be seen that many plants have restarted their business. Looking at plants’ condition, nobody can guess whether they were ever demolished by any authority.

Sources informed that the smog squad showed its aggressive operation against such plants in videos and pictures but they didn’t break the major parts like reactors, catalytic chamber, cooling tubes, heavy tanks and others. “Plants owners, soon after the operation again restarted their work after minor repairing,” they said.

Moreover, sources informed that currently, over 15 illegal pyrolysis plants were operating in Sheikhupura, 20 in Gujranwala, 35 in Rahim Yar Khan, 20 in Faisalabad and Sargodha districts.

They said that such plants were also present in Multan, Khanewal, Okara, Sahiwal and Muzafargarh districts, while admitting that EPA’s field staff was reluctant to submit accurate reports regarding them. They said that in Sheikhupura districts authorities sealed several plants but they again start operating.

These plants include Zahid Gilani, Zahid Saeed, Ali Bahadar, Danish and others. “Zahid Gillani has nine units in Sheikhupura and four in Gujranwala but nobody was ready to take action against him as he is considered as an influential person in these districts,” they said.

EPD Minister Muhammad Rizwan told this scribe that these plants were working illegal and EPA had been taking action against such plants.

He said since the matter was being dealt by PDMA and district administrations, they must deal the matter accordingly while taking stern action against them.

When contacted Secretary Environment Punjab, Syed Mubasher Hussain said that his department was not solely taking action in this regard but working in collaboration with the Commissioner office.

He was of the view that it was not possible to restart their business once the squad demolishes the illegal construction of any factory involved in illegal business. He said that squad also submits pictorial evidence of its action against such elements.

 

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