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Govt taking environment issues seriously: minister

April 01, 2017


Provincial Minister for Population Welfare and Environment Protection Begum Zakia Shahnawaz has said that the government is taking environmental issues very seriously and taking all measures in compliance with international environmental standards which ensure immense benefits to the economy besides controlling the number of deaths caused by pollution.

She was speaking at a seminar titled “Environment of Success – Not Cost but Opportunity" jointly organised by the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Punjab Environment Protection Department and the World Wildlife Fund, and sponsored by Highnoon Laboratories Ltd at LCCI. She said that compliance with environmental standards was a prerequisite for doing business with the developed world, therefore, the Environment Department was working tirelessly to educate the business community on these standards. She said that compliance with environmental rules, regulations and standards would help enhance exports and help alleviate poverty.

The minister said that the unchecked discharge of untreated waste into waterways was a cause of pollution in canals and rivers, which could result in an increase in diseases like cancer and hepatitis. 

Punjab Environment Secretary Saif Anjum said that environmental issues were of prime importance, therefore, industrialists particularly the export-oriented industry should tackle them on priority. He added that the Punjab government would extend every possible help to the industrial sector in this regard and that the government was encouraging the establishment of low-cost water treatment plants to control the water pollution. LCCI President Abdul Basit said that the Punjab Environment Protection Department should help the business community and create awareness about environment standards. He said the areas should be marked for water treatment plants in industrial zones. He said that the industry could not afford water treatment plants due to their high cost so the government should come forward to set up water treatment plants in all industrial areas. He also suggested that the industrial units complying with the environment-related laws should be given exemption in duties and taxes to encourage other industries to implement environment-related rules and regulations. 

Abdul Basit said, “The fast-changing global economic scenario has provided us with an opportunity to increase our exports to the desired levels which cannot be achieved without having compliance with international environmental standards.” Faryal Ali Gauhar, dam lead consultant for Cultural Heritage Management for Diamer Basha Dam, said that deforestation was also one of the biggest reasons for environmental issues in Pakistan and caused a rapid rise in pollution levels and distortion of the natural order. She said that environmental issues could be handled with a positive approach and tackled through public-private partnerships. LCCI Senior Vice-President Amjad Ali Jawa observed that LCCI was taking all possible measures to educate its members about environmental standards. LCCI Standing Committee on Environment convener Tehmina Saeed Chaudhury said that environmental changes caused agricultural disasters, floods and drought so the issue should be taken very seriously.