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Business

December 7, 2017

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Punjab warns cement plants over environmental violations

Punjab warns cement plants over environmental violations

LAHORE: The Environment Protection Department (EPD) of Punjab has sealed an expansion site of a cement company and slapped a notice on another as part of a crackdown on the manufacturers of this key construction material over various violations, sources said on Wednesday.
“A team from the department raided a cement factory in Northern Punjab and halted the construction of a new line at a cement plant,” a source at the EPD told The News.
The official said expansion work was going on for the last several months without the approval of the environmental department. “The department locked down every construction related work on the site,” the official said adding that another plant was also served notice for violation.
There are reports that some cement factories have lately started expanding their operations to meet the rising demand, constructing new lines without getting no-objection certificates (NoC) from the environmental department.
Many cases in which companies did not bother to obtain NoCs before carrying out expansion or setting up new plants have been pending with the provincial EPD for the last several years. Interestingly, the official said, plants based on new technology are relatively environmentally friendly.
According to a study, the most cement factories in the country have installed electrostatic precipitators and bag filters to control the total suspended particulate emissions. Such efforts need to be reinforced by the industry.
The sources also revealed that there was stress on water resources of the area due to manufacturing process, which needed to be addressed with the consultation of the industry. "The industrial sector should also take measures proactively for protecting flora and fauna of their respective area," the source stressed.
The demand of cement in recent years has seen phenomenal growth due to multiple factors. The capacity utilisation has hence crossed 90 per cent of the installed capacity for the first time in the history of the country.
The performance of cement sector remained encouraging during the last fiscal and recorded a growth of over seven percent. This growth largely comes from robust domestic demand, which allowed manufacturers to enhance their capacity utilisation to record level. The demand is spiking due to flourishing housing sector along with anticipated activities in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) related projects.

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