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NOTES OF MEETING WITH MR.NAEEM AHMED MUGHAL
DIRECTOR GENERAL, SINDH ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
ON THE OCCASION OF HIS VISIT TO SITE ASSOCIATION
HELD ON 21ST MARCH 2019 AT 3:00 P.M.
On the invitation of Mr.Saleem Parekh, President SITE Association, Mr.Naeem Ahmed Mughal, Director General, Sindh Environmental Protection Agency visited the Association to discuss issues related to SEPA. Following were present in the meeting.
i. Mr. Naeem Ahmed Mughal Director General, SEPA
ii. Dr. Ashique Ali Langa Regional Director, Karachi, (0300-2302540)
iii. Mr. Muneer A. Abbasi Deputy Director, Malir (0331-3506770)
iv. Mr. M. Imran Sabir Deputy Director, FBA/Korangi (0345-3019757)
FROM SITE ASSOCIATION
v. Mr. Saleem Parekh President
vi. Mr. Zubair Motiwala Patron
vii. Mr. Ahsan Arshad Ayub Senior Vice President
viii. Mr. Naveed Wahid Vice President
ix. Mr. Jawed Bilwani Former President
x. Mr. Muhammad Altaf Executive Committee Member
xi. Mr. Muhammad Shoaib Executive Committee Member
xii. Mr. Haris Shakoor Executive Committee Member
xiii. Mr. Arif Lakhani Chairman, APTPMA (Southern Zone)
xiv. Mr. Abdul Rasheed Former SVP
xv. Mr. Saleem Nagaria Former VP
and representatives of Member industries of SITE
Meeting commenced with recitation from the Holy Quran by Mr.Jawed Bilwani. President SITE Association Mr.Saleem Parekh welcomed all the participants and drew the attention of DG SEPA towards Notices being issued to Members asking them to appear for personal hearing and report compliance as per Water Commission directives.
DG SEPA thanked Mr.Saleem Parekh for inviting him to exchange views on environment related matters and said that this is 1st coordination meeting which has been arranged with SITE Association. SEPA will hold similar coordination meetings with other industrial associations as well. He said that basic agenda of this meeting is the Water Commission directives which gave 6 months time to industries of Sindh for compliance. SEPA has been assigned the task to ensure implementation on Water Commission directives.
Dr.Ashique of SEPA said that to comply with Water Commission directives, we carried out door-to-door survey of all industries in industrial zones of Karachi. At some places, we faced resistance from some industries which did not allow access to our officials. We have submitted Survey Reports / categorized data before the Court. He informed that hearing notices were issued to 60 units asking them to visit SEPA office and answer two simple questions e.g.
(i) Progress of setting up of in-house treatment plant (in case of wet processing)
(ii) Progress of setting up of septic tank (in case of dry processing).
Giving background of the matter, Dr.Ashique said that in May-2018, 4 month’s time was given to industries by the Water Commission for compliance with these requirements. After lapse of this time, SEPA has been issued clear-cut directives by the Water Commission to check compliance of each & every industrial unit in Karachi and report compliance / non-compliance and as such SEPA officials are visiting factories as it is committed to ensure compliance of Court orders. In this connection, a Public Notice was also published in leading Newspapers on 5th October 2018. He then read out relevant paras from the Water Commission order.
Mr.Saleem Parekh replied that the Association is well aware of the Public Notice which was immediately circulated to Members of the Association for further action at their end. At present, various Members are at different stages of compliance while some of them have already completed their in-house treatment plants.
DG SEPA at this added that in the final Report submitted by the Water Commission to the Supreme Court of Pakistan, it has been quoted that after the time is lapsed, SEPA will make surprise site inspections and ensure to seal the factories which are non-compliant and doesn’t have the treatment plant. “All the Water Commission orders have now become part of the Rules.” He said that review petition option was available to industries if they don’t agree with SEPA actions.
Mr.Zubair Motiwala while briefing the participants on the Progress of SITE Industries on environmental compliance, said that we undertake to install filtration plant since CETP is already under process. Mr.Jawed Bilwani said that it is not possible to install treatment plant in such a short timeframe. But filtration plant installation is possible. Mr.Zubair Motiwala informed tender process of CETP has been completed and SITE’s CETP is at No.1. In addition, HUBCO is also working on waste water treatment. Dr.Ghulam Murtaza who is Professor of PCRWR, has evaluated waste water samples collected from 14 points of SITE. Later, industries were categorized and 7 categories were formed. Top 3 categories are required to install treatment plant first. Upon installation of in-house treatment plants by these industries, the situation will improve. These include:
I. Battery manufacturing industries
II. Chemical producing industries / Pharmaceuticals
III. Tanneries & Leather finishing /
DG SEPA apprised the members that Water Commission has identified above mentioned three sectors where in-house treatment plants are to be set up on top priority basis. Mr.Jawed Bilwani at this added that in this Report, Textile Sector appears at No.7 which shows that textile sector is producing comparatively less hazardous effluent.
Mr.Zubair Motiwala and Mr.Jawed Bilwani apprised the DG SEPA about different hearings attended by them at the Court on behalf of the Association. They were of the view that closing down of industries in the name of non-compliance will be fatal for the economy. As such, there is need to chalk out joint strategy to ensure compliance of Court Orders by industries for which, they assured every cooperation from SITE Association of Industry.
The matter of construction of Five Combined Effluent Treatment Plants (CETP) in industrial zones of Karachi also came under discussion. Mr.Saleem Parekh informed the participants that PC-1 for the construction of 5 CETP has been prepared out of which, tenders for 3 CETP have been issued including one of SITE Area. We are indeed lucky to have first CETP in our area which is being effectively followed up by SITE Association’s Senior Members. Mr.Zubair Motiwala added that it is essential that the assembly passes Bill for setting up of CETP. Mr.Saleem Parekh informed that Bills is ready, to be tabled before the National Assembly.
SEPA representative informed that they have surveyed all industrial units in SITE area and found that out of total 2480 factories surveyed, 1745-factories were engaged in dry process where only septic tank is required. 654-units need to install treatment plants on priority basis whereas 33 factories already have their in-house treatment plants.
Mr.Zubair Motiwala was of the view that since the arrangement of ‘Nala’ is available, there should be no need for septic tank which is old theory. SEPA representative stated that septic tank is instrumental in settling contamination level of waste water. The matter of SEQS also came under discussion to which, DG SEPA informed that they have filed urgent hearing application to vacate the stay order, obtained by the Association.
Dr.Ashique informed that SEPA will pursue 654-units named in the priority list, mostly comprising pharmaceuticals, chemical, paints and battery sectors. SEPA has been given 6 months time to ensure implementation. The case is expected to be fixed for hearing in the month of June-2019. SEPA will take action as per court orders. Mr.Saleem Parekh said that upon receipt of priority list of 654-units, we will immediately contact our Members where installment plants can be installed without any hurdle.
DG SEPA informed that we cannot relax the court orders as we have responsibility on our shoulders. The Association may approach the Court against our actions. Final report was submitted in January-2019 wherein SEPA has been given 6 months time. After 6 months, SEPA is accountable before Water Commission. To sum up discussion, Mr.Zubair Motiwala proposed to take action one by one as under.
(I) SEPA will share list of 654-units with SITE Association to pursue Members out of them
(II) SITE Association we will share information they have
(III) SITE Association will arrange a meeting of DG SEPA with the Consultant
(IV) SEPA should help in setting up of CETP from its platform
(V) SEPA should refrain from taking stern action against industries
DG SEPA further said that we will invite Project Director of CETP for presentation on the progress of CETP. Regarding E&P Report, he said that this document is not required while EIA is done for new projects. SEPA will approve and give NOC on priority for installation of treatment plants. After NOC, 4-6 months time is given to industries to complete the treatment plant. E&P Report however, doesn’t mean that industry is compliant with environmental laws. Space limitations for setting up of in-house treatment plants also came under discussion.
Dr.Ashique further said that personal hearing statistics are very disappointing. Out of 60 units called, only 12-13 units representatives appeared for hearing. DG SEPA emphasized to complete personal hearing by next week. Mr.Saleem Parekh requested to share this list with SITE Association as well.
DG SEPA said that we represent entire Sindh province. We have complete data of all industries of SITE. We again encourage SITE Association to approach court of law for remedy against our actions. He informed that SEPA is contacting public sector organizations like KWSB, SSWMB and DMCs to redress environmental issues. At this Mr.Jawed Bilwani added that SITE Limited and DMC West should also be contacted for not lifting garbage & solid waste from SITE Area to which, DG SEPA agreed.
In conclusion, DG SEPA asked Members to give feedback about conduct of SEPA officers and discontinue underhand payments (if any), to any official of SEPA and send complaint at mobile number of DG and added that to ensure transparency, we send Inspectors of Karachi to interior Sindh and vice-versa. Members highly appreciated the clear cut directives of DG SEPA to promote corruption-free environment in his department.
Mr.Arif Lakhani suggested to arrange an Awareness Seminar for Members of the Association which was noted by DG SEPA. Meeting concluded with vote of thanks to the participants.