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Event Title: Senator Saleem Mandviwalla Presiding over a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Planning, Development & Special Initiatives

Event Date: 2021-12-21

ISLAMABAD, Dec 9, 2021:  Meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Climate Change was presided by Senator Seeme Ezdi, Chairperson Committee at Environmental Protection Agency’s Conference Room. The Committee discussed in detail the alarming situation of smog, air quality monitoring mechanism and preventive measures taken by the ministry of Climate Change in this regard.

The Climate Change Committee was briefed about the overall environmental situation of the country. Secretary Climate Change and DG EPA informed the Committee that the main causes of the air pollution are industrial units, vehicles and brick kilns emissions. For the eradication of air pollution difference measures have been taken. The committee was informed that in Federal Capital out of 63 brick kilns, 20 have installed pollution control technology.

The Committee was informed that 43 percent of air pollution was caused by vehicular emission and in Islamabad daily around 4 lakh vehicles move on Islamabad Expressway. These issues have prompted the Government to take strict action which includes its commitment of conversion of 30 percent of all transport to cleaner and greener electric vehicles. The standing committee also stressed on the need for developing enabling environment for switching to EV by incentivizing users and also unanimously recommended that public vehicles of the educational institutions should be converted to electric vehicles.

Senator Taj Haider informed the committee that currently Karachi is facing worst pollution problems. He said that focus should be developed on how to recycle the pollutants. He also stressed that there should be a mechanism for plastic recycling which is being used worldwide.

Senator Faisal Javed said that Prime Minister of Pakistan took the challenge of the environmental issue of Pakistan and did a tremendous job which is being appreciated by international community. He added that in this regard lot of projects have been started which include billion tree, 10 Dams in 10 years, Urban Forest in Lahore. These projects will help the country in curbing the climate related issues. He said that in Pakistan 3.3 million Metric Tons garbage’s being produced annually. He said that according to the World Bank report Pakistan is the only country which spends 44% of its funds on environment friendly projects. He told the committee that 1.5 billion trees have been planted in the country and one of the world biggest urban forest has been planted during this government regime.

Senator Abida Muhammad Azeem said that people in Balochistan are forced to burn Pine Trees due to non-availability of natural gas in the region.

Senator Keshoo Bai raised the issue of the smog especially in the Lahore and other parts of the country. She said that in Lahore situation has become worse than the neighboring country by every passing day. It has become necessary to take appropriate measures to curb this hazardous situation.

Senator Dr. Muhammad Hamayun Mohmand said that environmental issues have become the issue of the whole country and there is need to enhance cooperation between the Federal Government and the Provinces. He also stressed on the need for having data driven and evidence based policy-making.

 The committee meeting was attended by  senators Taj Haider, Faisal Javed, Muhammad Hamayun Mohmand, Keshoo Bai, Khalida Ateeb, Abida Muhammad Azeem  Secretary, Climate Change Sikander Qayyum, DG (EPA) Farzana Altaf Shah and other senior officers of EPA.

The standing committee also visited the Air Quality Monitoring System, Microbiological Lab, Water Lab, data surveillance room at EPA office to understand the data collection process. Moreover the Committee appreciated the work performed by EPA despite acute shortage of staff and recommended that the Ministry of Climate Change should work on addressing this issue at an urgent basis.

 Chairperson Committee Senator Seeme Ezdi said that it is our duty to provide safe environment to the people of Pakistan. Measures are being taken and all relevant institutions must play active part in this challenging time. She also stressed that there should be a proper mechanism to provide awareness to the common people about the environmental issues so that every individual can take part in combating the multidimensional challenges posed by climate change.