Team Members: Dr. Mahmood A. Khwaja
The present day environmental concerns in the best of times could be termed enormous. At SDPI there is an ongoing crusade against the degradation of the global and regional environment.
Once hailed as an important element in preventing disease, DDT assumed a ghastly role of a monster. Grave concerns emerged about DDT causing cancer. The use of DDT affected human and wildlife. DDT is also detrimental to flora and fauna. This concern became a catalyst for the environmental protection movement in America. The world has come a long way since then. Today DDT’s use has declined. Through the efforts of several environmental agencies and public and private sector support in most parts of the world most DDT producing factories are closed. One such factory was closed several years ago in Amman Garh district Nowshera. Studies show that even nominal amounts of DDT are harmful to human and wildlife.
In order to save humans and animals from adverse exposure, SDPI succeeded in having the site banned. SDPI contributed in building a wall around the area to protect the local population from direct exposure. Signs indicating the site as a danger zone were put up. A process to clean the soil from the DDT and possible DDT residue was carried out. Planting trees and plants is an effective way to detoxify the soil. An awareness drive was held to educate the local people about the dangers from toxins at similar sites.
Inception meetings for this study were held in which members of the project team participated. The project was thoroughly discussed and related project phase two activities, including literature review, collecting of available information, environmental sampling and analyses plan, meetings with stakeholders, site visits and surveys were planned and scheduled. A one-page questionnaire to collect relevant data about the factory from the ex-employer/employees of the factory was developed.
Following these meetings, a survey of a DDT factory in Nowshera was conducted. Identification of sampling sites and points for collection of environmental samples (soil and water) for DDT analyses was carried out at Peshawar University.
SDPI’s untiring pursuit of this issue has finally lead the DCO, Nowshera and Tehsil Muncipal Officer, Amman Gargh to issue Show Cause Notices to the proprietor of the (demolished) DDT factory, not to convert the said premises into a residential scheme/society till the cleaning of the said land on scientific lines from DDT, in order to avoid human casualties as well as environmental pollution.
SDPI was invited to participate in the first meeting (Aug.24, 2007) of the newly constituted District Environmental Protection Committee Nowshera. SDPI reiterated the recommendations of the various reports published by the Institute in May 2006 and Jan. 2007, including installing Danger – Prohibited Area signboards at the site as soon as possible. The reports included:
Physical Verification and Study of Contamination of Soil and Water in and surrounding Areas of Abandoned Persistent Organic Pollutant (DDT) Factory in North West Frontier Province (NWFP) Pakistan-May 2006
Study of Contamination of Soil in surrounding of Abandoned Persistent Organic Pollutant (DDT) Nowshera Factory in North West Frontier Province (NWFP) Pakistan-Jan.2007
SDPI’s recommendation was accepted and the Institute provided text for the sign boards to be placed at the site.