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Event Title: Meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Climate Change held at Parliament Lodges

Event Date: 2018-09-17

The Senate Standing Committee on Climate Change was held on Monday under the Chairmanship of Senator Sitara Ayaz. Attended by Senator Sherry Rehman, Senator Muhammad Akram, Senator Molvi Faiz Muhammad, Senator Keshoo Bai, Senator Dr. Sikandar Mandhro, Senator Faisal Javed, Senator Muhammad Ali Khan Saif and senior officers of the Ministry of Climate Change along with all concerned.

The meeting commenced with a 10 minute documentary that provided an overview of the level of contamination of waterbodies of Islamabad that fell into the Rawal Lake, which is the main drinking water source for the people of Islamabad and Rawalpindi.

Looking at the level of contamination of water sources in Islamabad Senator Sikandar Mandhro said that one cannot imagine the contamination of deltas that border coastal belts. He further stated that as a consequence,22 acre of land has been absorbed by the sea. Even in a city like Karachi there are no treatment plants on the coast.

Chairperson Committee, Senator Sitara Ayaz showed despair at the state of the Capital and said that illegal high-rises, petrol pumps and CNG Stations are aggravating the problem for which it is imperative that CDA be taken to task. 

While briefing the Committee on PAK-EPA and its functions DG EPA, Farzana Altaf Shah said that it has been working as an attached department of the Ministry of Climate Change established under the Pakistan Environmental Protection Ordinance 1983.  She further informed the Committee that the organization since its establishment has been involved with formulating rules and regulations the most challenging of which, she added, was the Hospital Waste Management Rules 2005, due to lack of human resource for monitoring of hospitals and the method of waste disposal.  She further stated that lack of resources is a major impediment for the EPA to perform adequately.

While discussing budget allocation it was revealed that no budgeting provision for the maintenance of laboratories, monitoring field activities, review of IEE/EIA and bio safety monitoring was provided. She further stated that Pak-EPA since 2000 to-date has received 74 EIAs out of which 46+ 1EMP have been approved.

Similarly in the case of IEE, Pak-EPA received from 2000 to-date 136 applications out of which 82+ 2 EMPs were approved. Discussing details of cases of petrol pumps and CNG stations from 2004 to-date it was revealed that these cases were forwarded by OGRA. Total number of applications for petrol pumps received was 92 out of which 81 approvals were issued.  For CNG Stations a total of 133 applications were received out of which approvals for 133 were issued. 

While reviewing the status of international protocols and agreements, the Committee was dismayed.  Chairperson Committee, Senator Ayaz inquired the reason for EPA being created if facilities and human resource were not being provided.   While showing displeasure regarding this situation she stated that if this was the case in the Capital, the scenario in provinces could not be imagined. Senator Mandhro said that the environment cannot be localized. This issue cannot be resolved in an isolated manner, he stressed.

Senator Muhammad Ali Khan Saif while showing concern regarding non-compliance of international obligations stressed that if there has been a perpetual lack of resources then in such a case Pakistan is clearly in violation of international treaties and agreements. Senator Sherry Rehman recommended that EPA must furnish the Committee with a list of non-compliances, so that Ministry can be made accountable

The Committee recommended that a separate meeting be called in which Chairman CDA, Department of Health, Mayor Islamabad, Chief Commissioner Islamabad and EPA are summoned. It also suggested that another meeting to solely discuss implementation status of international protocols and agreements be called at the earliest.