LARKANA: Dust coming out of rice mills have proved to be hazardous for human health as no action has been taken by the district administration and the Sindh Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA).
It has been reported that around 2000 rice mills are operating in Sindh and Balochistan, including Kambar-Shahdadkot, Shikarpur, Dadu, Jacobabad, Kashmore and Larkana districts, where white rice is produced through milling system after removing the husk, bran layers and mud. These particles then fly in the air and have become hazardous for labourers and citizen living in the vicinity.
Rice mills have become a large industry, but the owners have not installed environment protection equipment to prevent infections and make the area environment-friendly.
Shahdadkot Assistant Commissioner Abdul Karim Sangrasi issued over 100 notices to the rice mill owners in which it has been informed to them that under Section 11 of Sindh Environmental Protection Act 2014. The Act stated that “nobody is allowed to discharge contaminated material which may pollute the environment for which Water Commission has also issued instructions to install treatment plants”.
In addition to that, “SEPA Larkana has also written a letter to all Deputy Commissioners of Larkana Division for action,” the letter added.
Moreover, it was reported that the mill owners have been warned that if they do not abide by the prevailing laws by 12th December, then stern action will be taken under Section 22 of SEPA Act. This will include a fine of up to five million rupees.
Similarly, Sindh-Balochistan Rice Millers Association President Qamaruddin Gopang said that as of yet no preventive measures have been taken by the rice millers.
He said his own mill is located in Larkana’s Sindh Small Industries (SSI) area where no equipment has been installed as yet, adding that he “fully supported the SEPA action and advised all the mill owners to install all safety measures to protect the environment”.