Environmental protection around oil, gas sites demanded

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KARACHI: Community leaders residing near oil, gas, and coal fields across various districts in Sindh have urged the government to take effective measures for environmental protection around the exploration sites.

While speaking at a news conference at Karachi Press Club on Tuesday, community leaders representing residents from Badin, Sanghar, and Tharparkar emphasised that residents in these areas have been suffering from health issues due to the lack of adequate measures to mitigate the environmental impacts.

Attendees at the press conference included Zeenia Shaukat, Director of The Knowledge Forum; Abdul Majeed Mungrio from the Sustainable Development Foundation; Leela Ram, an lawyer from Gorano Dam in Islamkot, Tharparkar; Ishak Soomro, a social leader and researcher; and Muhammad Aslam Malah from the Social Workers Union in Badin.

They demand that the government take action to protect the rights of local residents and address the long-term damage caused to the environment by the discharge of polluted water and gas.

In particular, they pointed out that Badin district has been a long-time producer of gas and oil, yet local communities continue to face neglect. Basic amenities such as clean drinking water remain elusive, despite companies being responsible for providing essential services like healthcare, road infrastructure, education, technical training, and employment opportunities.

The detrimental impact of oil and gas operations is keenly felt through the contamination of local water sources, resulting in a rise in waterborne diseases among the population, they regretted.

Under corporate social responsibility (CSR) obligations, companies are mandated to provide gas to villages within a five-kilometer radius of oil and gas extraction sites, they claimed. Unfortunately, many villages have yet to receive gas supply despite this requirement.

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