TANDO MUHAMMAD KHAN - The poisonous effluents of sugar mills, oil and gas fields, the salty water drains and deforestation have played chaos with the environment and the health of human beings, animals and birds in Tando Muhammad Khan, Badin and Thatta districts.

Three districts are very rich in natural resources i.e oil, gas and forest in all over Sindh province, where more than forty national as well as multinational companies are exploring oil and gas from different fields, twenty sugar mills’ waste mixed with the canals and polluting the environment with its effluents. It is directly affecting the health of human, animal and birds. A special survey conducted to mark World Environment Day, shows that TM Khan’s water, soil and air are being polluted without any check and control.

The Sindh Environmental Protection Authority (SEPA) has not directed to sugar mill owners for constructing separate drains to dispose of industrial wastes, as more than twenty industries are disposing of their wastes into sewerage lines that finally fall in irrigation system of left bank canal systems of Phuleli Canal, Pinyari and Akram Wah.

The report revealed that Left Bank Outfall Drain passes through Badin district to discharge saline water into the sea while there were about 15 other saline water drains in the district including Karo Ghunghro and Matli drain, which is called Haji Ameer Shah Drain and receives effluents of oil and gas fields and Ansari, Shah Murad and Dewan sugar mills. These effluents are discharged in Nareri Lake and play havoc in the areas from which it passes through, as it create foul smell in a vast area affecting the health of people.

The report states that environmental pollution has also caused hazards to birds and animals besides viruses for the crops. The poisonous effluent has also affected the subsoil water turning it bitter and non-useable. Dr Nisar Ahmed Memon, District Health Officer, TMK, said the pollution has decreased the average age from 65 to 50 years and caused increase in the number of people suffering from hepatitis and respiratory diseases over the last three years. He is of the view that the number of outdoor patients visiting DHQ hospital had increased from 500 to 700 per month. These three districts are deprived of environment department and there is no office exists here.

Similarly, illegal and dangerous practice of burning of solid waste is continuing unchecked in TM Khan. It poses serious health hazards by causing considerable increase in the environmental pollution and the criminal activity on the part of sanitation staff and public at large, mostly scavengers, is also damaging the solid waste containers.

Usually scavengers, gardeners and addicts are held responsible for the unfortunate daily routine but municipal department staff is also involved for across the city and the dumping sites.

According to the insiders, the sanitation staffers burn the garbage to reduce the quantity that is much higher than the lifting capacity of municipal. About 0.6 million population of the district produces over 2,000 ton of solid waste daily.

As a result, more than 40 per cent waste remains unattended on the roads and municipal workers burn a large quantity to reduce the volume for easy transportation to the dumping sites.

A representative of a local NGOs working on environment (REFORM), Noor Muhammad Memon said there is a culture of laziness among the govt employees and a private firm will perform much better with the available resources.  An integrated effort by the departments concerned to create awareness through media is needed to meet the future challenges because with rising urbanisation and change in lifestyle and eating habits, the amount of municipal solid waste is increasing rapidly and its composition is changing as well. Non-biodegradable waste requires scientific processes for its disposal.

However, by developing the recycling industry, the solid waste can be turned into ‘solid wealth’.