LAHORE: With the widespread availability of acids and chemicals across the provincial capital, a significant increase has been recorded in the number of acid attack cases within the past decade. Moreover, the toxic smell and vapours rising from these harmful substances being sold by roadsides have made it difficult for the people to continue living in adjoining areas.
According to the details, hazardous chemicals including Nitric acid, Hydrochloric acid, Sulfuric acid and many more are being sold in and around the Shah Alam Market, Ferozepur Road, Faisal Town, Township, Shahdara, GT Road, Dou Morya Pul, Ghoray Shah, Allama Iqbal Town and Circular Road areas of the city without any fear of being caught.
Sources told Pakistan Today that the activities of this deadly business are being carried out right under the authorities’ nose for they have been bribed to give a green signal to all those involved while not daring to interfere or take any action against them. Meanwhile, the shopkeepers having stored the extremely dangerous chemicals in large drums on footpaths can result in any untoward incident.
While the industrial chemicals have an unfathomable demand owing to their utility in the production of various products, their open sale, besides causing respiratory problems among the residents, is one of the major reasons behind the ever-increasing cases of acid attacks especially against women.
The number of women who were burnt in acid attacks back in 2008 increased from 56 to 155 in 2017. According to the detailed figures, the number of acid victims has been 68 in 2009, 77 in 2010, 79 in 2011, 83 in 2012, 88 in 2013, 96 in 2014, 105 in 2015 and 132 in 2016. While the number of acid attacks in 2018 has been 44, it is still something worth worrying.
Speaking to Pakistan Today, Dr Asad said that the open sale of acids and other chemicals was unfortunate. He said that the government should put an end to the practice and take positive steps in this regard. He also said that if a timely action was not taken, the consequences could be disastrous.