CDA fails to carry out ‘Cleanup Streams’ plan

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The failure of the capital city developers to complete the vital project of ‘Cleanup Streams’ started by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) years ago will lead to further environmental degradation as tonnes of offal and other garbage will be dumped in the streams during the Eid days. The inhabitants of Islamabad will sacrifice thousands of animals across the city and this time too, like the previous years, most of the animal waste is to be dumped in the streams and drains around the city. Hence, more damage to the environment. But the CDA authorities are least bothered to complete the project, as a result of which watercourses are rather getting more polluted with the each passing day.
An official in the CDA, while seeking anonymity, said, “Almost two years ago, the CDA formed a taskforce on ‘Cleanup Streams’ but the project was dumped in the files only after the cleaning two streams near Sector E-11 of the federal capital.” He said, “The project was aimed at cleaning around 11 polluted streams and nullahs to restore biodiversity, flora and fauna of the federal capital. The project was also focused on identification of major natural and manmade point and non-point sources of pollution in the natural streams of Islamabad.”
The CDA was supposed to develop a restoration and pollution control strategy that would act as a guideline in preparing the action plan for improved wastewater management to protect the quality of drinking water.
He, however, admitted that some cosmetic measures had been taken to rectify the problem but nothing significant was done to resolve the issue on a permanent basis.”
It is learnt that the taskforce includes people from the CDA building control and environment protection cells besides roads, maintenance and sanitation departments.
The Building Control Cell was responsible to remove illegal connections of sewage disposal where as the Maintenance Department had been assigned the duty to maintain all depleted sewerage system. The Sanitation Department was mobilised to collect all the solid waste dumped in these streams. An official of Pakistan Environment Protection Agency (PEPA), with a request not to be named, said almost three year ago, his organisation conducted a survey of the streams and collected water samples from them, the results of which proved that the watercourses in Islamabad were heavily polluted but the PEPA did not issue even a legal notice to the CDA, a responsibility that was supposed to be fulfilled.
Now, the PEPA has almost forgotten the serious issue and there is no plan to repeat the survey or chalk out a strategy to clean the streams.
While describing the reasons for the degradation of streams, he said the reasons were multifarious and interlinked, which included throwing of different pollutants into these water channels like everyday household garbage, municipal and industrial waste and cow dung by the residents of various slums areas.
He said, “The release of solid waste from industrial units and local hospitals into these water channels is of particular concern as it causes a number of diseases. More than thirty industrial units in Islamabad are releasing various pollutants into these streams, creating serious environmental hazards and destroying aquatic life. Equally responsible are the routine bureaucratic snags and lack of cooperation and coordination among different government agencies.