Private environmental testing laboratories are facilitating polluters by preparing fake, unrealistic, and forged environmental test reports and such labs have been certified by the Punjab Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Daily Times has leaned. These laboratories have provided opportunities to polluter industrial units in Punjab to continue their operations at the cost of the environment. Law experts stressed that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) take action against such culprits. The startling revelations came to surface in an audit report which was prepared after a six-month investigation by a special team of Punjab EPA. This team consisted of EPA Deputy Director Nusrat Naz, assistant directors Dr Fareeha and Dr Arshad and environmental expert Dr Maqsood. This was the first-ever audit of private laboratories, conducted on the orders of Punjab Environment Minister Muhammad Rizwan after news surfaced in the Daily Times that EPA was reluctant to audit private environmental labs. There are 15 private laboratories that have obtained certificates to test the environmental samples of stack emissions, water quality, and noise level in the province. According to the findings, the laboratories prepared fake and unrealistic environmental data on their clients’ businesses in violation of the conditions mentioned in EPA’s certificate. Side by side, EPA officials also remained reluctant to pay attention to the operations of such laboratories as the agency never adopted any proper mechanism for their periodic audit and performance evaluation. Due to this negligence, these laboratories violated the allowed limit of tests, they also kept busy in making fake, unreliable, nonrepresentative, and non calibrated data on the environment. According to rules, environmental laboratories must keep data on all tests they perform, hence bound to produce all tests’ traceability when required. However, no laboratory could furnish the traceability of their tests’ data. They found that all laboratories performed tests above the permissible limit while they conducted even tests of those parameters for which they were not allowed to. Every test’s data should be saved in testing equipment’s memory but most of the laboratories failed to furnish the required data before the team. This was also found during a probe that most of the laboratories failed in providing purchase receipts of their equipment. Sources said that most laboratories use smuggled equipment or import from other countries in the scrape category to avoid tax. For any environmental test, laboratories should use reagent (a substance or mixture for use in chemical analysis or other reactions) grade chemicals but the EPA team found commercial grade chemicals in these laboratories which are not allowed to test any sample. Moreover, the probe team found that many laboratories had placed commercial grade chemicals in the bottles with the label of reagent grade. While obtaining certificates from EPA, these laboratories had shown the required staff but during the probe, teams found that most of laboratories were lacking the required staff. This is pertinent to mention here that in different cases, such laboratories have presented their reports during court proceedings. Experts have said that the findings of the probe team have raised questions of different courts’ decisions based on the test reports of such laboratories. They also said that all the Environmental Approvals (EIA and IEE) given by EPA on these laboratories’ tests reports will be considered as invalid. They believe that these laboratories were the major cause of deteriorating the environment so the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and other agencies must take action against them. EPA Spokesperson Sajid Bashir told Daily Times that all the necessary action will be taken against the violators either laboratories’ owner or EPA official in the light of findings and recommendation of the probing team.