LAHORE - Environmental experts have issued a stern warning to both factory owners and citizens, urging them to refrain from burning trash due to its detrimental impact on human and animal health. The Deputy Commissioner’s office had previously imposed a ban on the incineration of various materials, including trash, tires, shoes, plastic, and raw wood in all brick kilns throughout the district. According to environmentalist Mahmood Khalid Qamar, the combustion of prohibited materials, such as trash, plastic, and treated wood, poses a grave threat to the environment. These substances release toxic chemicals into the atmosphere, resulting in air pollution. This polluted air, when inhaled by both humans and animals, gives rise to severe health risks and leaves deposits in the soil, surface water, and on plants. Qamar emphasizes that open burning, in general, poses a significant risk to the environment and public health.
Director General Mazhar Zaheer Abbas Malik, in a recent statement to the media, issued a stern warning to factory owners, cautioning against the use of plastic and shoes as fuel sources in combustion. He emphasized that strict actions would be taken against those who fail to comply. Additionally, he urged farmers to refrain from burning rice crop residues, as this practice leads to soil, groundwater, lake, river, and stream pollution. Furthermore, outdoor burning of crop residues carries the risk of sparking wildfires. Malik stressed the importance of burning only approved materials and adhering to state regulations to mitigate these harmful effects. Naseem-ur-Rehman Shah, the Director of the Environmental Protection Department (EPD), pointed out that burning trash not only results in the production of polluted ash and smoke but can also release hexachlorobenzene (HCB) into the environment. HCB is a highly persistent toxin that degrades slowly in the air, enabling it to travel long distances in the atmosphere.
Shah noted that any violation of garbage burning regulations would lead to immediate consequences, including the sealing of the unit or kiln, imprisonment, fines of up to Rs100,000, and the initiation of legal proceedings against industrial unit or kiln owners. Furthermore, he emphasized that brick manufacturing is only permitted using the new eco-friendly zigzag technology.