Despite the new Combined Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) for a cluster of tanneries in the Korangi Industrial Area which was opened recently, it was stated that out of 200 tanneries located in the five industrial areas in Karachi, only half that number were discharging sewage after proper waste treatment.
One exporter stated that failure to comply would adversely affect the country’s leather industry which is already beset by the problem of competitiveness in the world market.
The Ministry of Industries prepared a plan three years ago to set up five ETPs in the industrial areas of Karachi. However, as no stakeholder, including the federal government, the city government, or even the private sector, took responsibility for the project it remained in limbo.
At the inauguration of the Rs500 million (US$8.2 million) Combined Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) for a cluster of tanneries in Korangi, President General Pervaiz Musharraf said that more effluent plants should be set up for a better and friendlier environment. The president said that the project should have been undertaken much earlier in view of its significance.
The project took a decade to achieve as it was held up for some time when the Pakistan Tanners Association could not get the necessary funds in place. The president congratulated all the partners involved: the Pakistan Tanners Association, the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan, Ministry of Commerce, the government of the Netherlands, government of Sindh and the city district government. He said this facility was an example of public-private partnership and it would greatly benefit the industries and also improve the country’s international image.
The president pointed out that there was a lack of awareness in the country with regard to the environment and this could be owing to the paucity of resources, poverty and other factors. He said that the country’s economy was doing well and hoped that side by side with economic progress due care would be taken to protect the environment and create necessary awareness among the people. ‘We need to clean up our cities, towns, waters as well as the air.’
The president said that industrial growth requires a friendly environment for which extremism has to be curbed, enabling sustained progress to alleviate poverty through the generation of more jobs. He underlined the need for more projects such as the CETP and said the government would contribute to such efforts as much as possible. ‘We must ensure that we are internationally competitive and recognized internationally as being environment-friendly.’
The president suggested that at least five points in the metropolis should be identified where the effluent plants could be established. The cost will not be a problem, he added.
Speaking on the occasion, commerce minister Humayun Akhtar Khan appreciated the effluent treatment project which he said has been spearheaded by the private sector with full support by his ministry and the Trade Development Authority. The chief executive of the authority, Tariq Ikram, said a good environment is vital for the country’s trade.
President of the PTA Environmental Society, Gulzar Firoz, presented the welcome address, highlighting various aspects of the Korangi project. The plant has a capacity to treat a total of 42,000 cubic meters per day including 16,500 cubic meters/day from tanneries and 26,000 cubic meters/day of domestic wastewater.
The project cost of Rs492 million was shared by the TDAP, Ministry of Commerce, PTA Southern Zone, the government of the Netherlands, government of Sindh and city district government Karachi.