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Health and environment.

Pollutants also reach areas far from the factories. It is by wind, water (including ground water) and by entering the food chain/web. Figure 1 illustrates as to how a pollutant finds its way to a dining table. The fearsome fact is that organisms tend to store some chemicals in their bodies. Even a low concentration of a pollutant in the environment may thus be increased to a high level in the body of an organism over a period of time. If such an organism (plant or animal) is consumed by human beings, the toxic effects of the pollutants stored in its body can cause severe damage to health. Figure 2 indicates various organs of human body which become target of different pollutants.

The government has been encouraging import of used machinery for setting up industries in the country. This has particularly facilitated setting up of tanneries and other such industries discharging heavy loads of pollutants. In the early days, the heavy polluter type industries were located away from cities. With the rapid growth of population, the cities have expanded and now many heavy industries are surrounded by large human settlements (a good example is the once Dalmia Cement Factory in Gulshan-i-Iqbal).

Various legal measures exist to regulate industrial pollution. These include the Factories Act (1934), the Local Government Ordinances of Balochistan, NWFP, Punjab and Sindh (1979-80) and the Pakistan Environmental Protection Ordinance (1983). More detailed legislation based on specific environmental standards is in the last stages of development and will be available soon to give the provincial Environmental Protection Agencies much more firm grounds to operate.

There is a general fear in the industrialist community that making an existing factory environmentally clean would not be cost effective. It is not necessarily true in all cases. Based on some of the studies conducted by IUCN, following considerations emerge:

1. Many of the components used in waste treatment facility can be fabricated locally. This cuts down the cost tremendously, saves foreign exchange, and creates more jobs (e.g. several small-scale industries in Sindh and Punjab).

2. Factories in an area can pool resources to develop common waste treatment facilities (e.g. tanneries in Kasur and Karachi).

3. Government agencies can provide common waste treatment facilities before opening up new industrial areas (e.g. industrial zone of the Port Qasim Authority).


4. Investment in environmental measures/waste treatment goes a long way in:

a) Reducing the amount of waste generated (e.g. use of filters in cement factory reduce loss of cement)

b) Saving expenditures on inputs (better furnaces use of flu gases and recycling of hot air reduce fuel cost).

c) Reducing medical costs incurred on workers. Number of absentees is reduced. More man-hours become available to the factory.

d) Improving the working conditions within the factory premises. Workers develop a better appreciation for their work place. A psychological satisfaction of working in healthy environment leads to higher moral, fewer disputes and hence better production.

A big hope for us is the National Conservation Strategy (NCS). Pakistan government adopted it on March 1, 1992 as the national guidelines for future development of the country. This document takes a realistic and cost effective approach to solving various problems.

For the industries, NCS advocates policies and measures which range all the way from requiring environmental impact assessment studies conducted before siting of various industries, to providing incentives to industrialists for adopting environment friendly technologies, to punitive measures against polluters who have no regards for the health of the present generation and of those who are going to inherit this country, presently rich in natural resources. Let us hope and pray that our tomorrow will be more prosperous with more industries yet clean water and fresh air for a happier healthier life.

Diseases caused by Various Pollutants


Central Nervous System, Muscular Weakness, Loss of Appetite & Weight, Gastro-intestinal disorders, Sin Cancer, Coma, Death.


Lung diseases, Lung Cancer, Nervous disorders, Death.


Gastro-intestinal disorder, Kidney stone, Prostrate Cancer.


Intestinal disorder, Eye diseases.


Liver Necrosis, Nephrititis, Gastro-intestinal disorders, Digestive tract Cancer.


Nephrititis, Liver and Heart tissue damage, Teeth mottling, Flurosia.


General metabolic poisoning, Anemia, Tiredness, Lassitude, Irritability, Behavioral changes.


Neurological and Renal Disturbances, Gonadotoxic and Mutagenic effects, Disturbance of Cholesterol metabolism.


Hypertension, Methemoglonemia, Cancer


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Title Annotation:Pakistan's Conservation Strategy
Author:Naim, Parvez
Publication:Economic Review
Date:Aug 1, 1993
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