The Standing Committee on Climate Change in its meeting held on Wednesday was briefed by the Ministry of Climate Change on environmental impact of Brick Kilns and measures taken to curb operations in nearby residential areas. The Committee also reviewed the Islamabad Wildlife (protection, Preservation and Management) (Amendment) Bill 2020, which has been pended until the next meeting. The plight of animals in Islamabad Zoo, vehicular air pollution and Glacier Lake Outburst Floods were discussed in great detail as well.
Chaired by Senator Sitara Ayaz, the meeting was attended by Senator Muhammad Ali Khan Saif, Senator Samina Saeed, Senator Sherry Rehman, Senator Sana Jamali, Seantor Fisal Javed, Senator Muhammad Asad Ali Khan Junejo, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Senator Pervaiz Rasheid, Senator Kamran Michael, Senator Kesho Bai, Senator Musadik Masood Malik, Senator Muhammad Javed Abbasi and senior officers from the Ministry for Climate Change along with all concerned. Minister of State for Climate Change Ms. Zartaj Gul was also present.
The Committee took serious notice of the delay in the process of conversion of brick kilns to Zig-Zag Technology. It was asserted that the Capital should be a flagship in this regard for all provinces to follow. The Committee was informed of the challenges that are faced by the Ministry at this point. Kiln owners are facing difficulty to convert to ZigZag Technology as most land on which Kilns are established is leased. This is a hindrance while processing of loans as they lack ownership documents. The problems faced by small and medium size kilns is even more intense since most of these enterprises are based in an informal setting and fear being brought into the tax net and other regulatory procedures. ZigZag Technology requires 24/7 electricity supply and the areas where these brick kilns operate are faced with 20-22 hours of power outage. Dedicated transmission lines are imperative for this purpose. The COVID 19 situation and heavy rainfall are other impediments that have delayed the process. The Committee recommended that a phased approach be adapted in this regard. Legislation to penalize Brick Kiln owners that fail to adapt ZigZag Technology within a given time frame must be formulated as well. This will ensure implementation on a large scale. The Committee was informed that in Islamabad out of 63 Kilns 10 have already been converted to ZigZag Technology.
Discussing the plight of animals at Islamabad Zoo, the Committee took strong notice of recent deaths of Lions Blue Bulls and Ostriches and said that this matter must be probed in detail. It was asserted that management of zoos in a typical bureaucratic manner was a major impediment to animal well-being. Chairperson Committee, Senator Sitara Ayaz was of the view that closure of the zoo is not an appropriate response to issues that stem. She asserted that getting to the root of the problem and resolving it is key to progress. The Committee stressed that in case of closure of the zoo, in wake of the Islamabad High Court decision of uncaging animals, alternatives must be explored.
Reviewing the issue of vehicular emissions in Islamabad and measures to curb it the Committee stressed the need for legislation to be formulated from the Government side to ensure smoke free environment in Islamabad. It was asserted that this is extremely important for the health and well-being of the people. After being implemented in Islamabad, Provinces may follow suit. The Committee was of the view that despite prior recommendations this matter had been delayed since the past one year. Assessing the melting glaciers in Pakistan, the Committee took strong notice of delay in implementation of the GLOF project in Pakistan. It was stressed that, being an impending threat immediate measures must be taken in this regard to address it at the earliest. Discussing the cutting of Juniper trees in Balochistan, Chairman Committee, Senator Sitara Ayaz stressed stringent measures for redressal of this issue immediately.