After the mysterious deaths of 18 people in an industrial area of the southern Pakistani city of Karachi, authorities are investigating whether the deaths were caused by the release of toxic chemicals at a factory.
Deep concern is being expressed by various circles over the loss of more than a dozen human lives in this incident in the residential area of Karachi, Pakistan’s most populous port city.
Pakistani authorities said in a statement on Friday that the investigation into the mysterious death, allegedly caused by the release of toxic chemicals, is ongoing.
Meanwhile, Meher Khursheed, a female spokeswoman associated with the Health Department of Sindh province, said in a statement that preliminary investigations revealed that some toxic chemicals were being used in the factories in the area, the emissions of which were harmful to the lungs. The disease caused and resulted in the death of at least 18 people.
According to local sources, the investigation was started after the residents of this industrial area of Karachi filed complaints about the strong smell spreading in the surrounding area. Workers in at least four factories in the area and residents of the surrounding areas were suffering from severe breathing problems and smell of chemicals coming from the vicinity of at least four factories.
All the victims, mostly children, died within days after developing symptoms such as fever, sore throat and lack of oxygen to breathe. After that, Chief Minister Sindh issued orders to complete the investigation as soon as possible and to keep the factories closed until the investigation process is completed.
Deaths from industrial hazards, such as factory fires, gas leaks, building collapses and landmine entrapment are common or daily occurrences in Pakistan, and in most cases the culprits behind the disasters go unpunished. The main reason for this is the broken, inefficient system of prosecution and justice.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s National Forum for Environment has demanded the Karachi city administration and environment protection agency to strictly enforce environmental protection laws.
Residents of Kemari area of Karachi have been suffering from toxic chemicals and other environmental pollution emitted by factories located in this area for a long time. Tragedies that cause loss of human lives due to environmental pollution continue to occur in this area day by day, but no effective measures are taken by the authorities and related institutions to prevent such incidents.
It should be noted that Federal Health Minister Abdul Qadir Patel belongs to the same area of Karachi city of Sindh province. Pakistan’s National Forum for Environment has said that all necessary reform measures should be taken in the background of this recent tragedy. At the same time, the owners of various factories should fulfill their moral and legal responsibilities and the authorities should strengthen their legal grip against those who are negligent in this regard.