A private cement company has been damaging the local environment and the health of the people in Choa Saidan Shah area of Chakwal district. The company is in the process of building a new cement manufacturing plant for which it is eying an area spread over 10,000 acres, covering a large portion of the Diljabba and Karangal reserve forests. A public hearing in this regard is expected to be held in July.
This is a matter of grave concern for the local population which is already suffering from the damaging effects of the already existing two cement plants of the same company in Choa Saidan Shah that have been functional for some time.
Since the completion of these plants, the area’s groundwater has drastically gone down and the weather has become warmer on account of thermal pollution caused by cement plants. The area residents now routinely suffer from dust allergies and the incidence of cancer has also increased compared to the days when there were no cement plants around.
The relevant authorities need to intervene on behalf of the hapless residents and allow them to be given a fair chance to air their grievances against the very idea of allowing cement manufacturing in a populated area. Building another cement plant in the area will not only considerably reduce the local forest cover, but will also bring other catastrophic changes in the environment, causing harm to the health of the people.
MIRZA AMJAD BAIG