Tuesday November 30, 2021

Resolves made to tackle air pollution issue in Peshawar

November 25, 2021

PESHAWAR: The members of the civil society and senior government officials on Wednesday resolved to tackle the air pollution issue in Peshawar.

A press release said Peshawar Commissioner Riaz Mehsud chaired the meeting to find a sustainable solution to the increasing air pollution in Peshawar.

The officials of the district administration of Peshawar and Khyber, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) KP Economic Zones Development and Management Company, Industries Department were present on the occasion.

He reiterated the resolve for a clean, green and healthy environment being a top priority.

The Sarhad Conservation Network team was led by senior citizen Sarwar Mohmand Sarwar. The members included Prof Shafeeq ur Rehman, Dr Adil Zareef, Dr Maqbool Khan and Dr Yousaf Sarwar.

The team urged punitive administrative and legislative measures against the industrial units causing serious diseases and suffering to people.

They informed that 3000 citizens in Hayatabad had signed in a recently launched petition campaign urging the KP government to support their fundamental right to clean air.

The petition shall also be presented to the Environmental Protection Tribunal for necessary action.

The Khyber deputy commissioner said industrial units inspections had been carried out, fines were imposed and written warnings issued, besides sealing 40 units including crush machines and steel furnaces.

However, some of these have been de-sealed on the directive by the Environmental Protection Tribunal.

It was added the status quo granted to the industry by the Peshawar High Court had restricted the scope of government intervention.

The government officials resolved action against non-complying industrial units after the final outcome of the cases were adjudicated by the court.

The EPA director apprised that mainly chipboard and plastic industry in an industrial estate, besides steel industry in Khyber district were involved in smoke emission, creating serious public health hazards.

He said a dedicated assistant director has been deputed for Khyber and Peshawar districts each for day to day monitoring and inspection.

The director said future inspections of the industrial units would be carried out in coordination with concerned district administration.

The commissioner concluded with a directive to constitute a technical committee under the supervision of additional deputy commissioner (G) Peshawar.

It will comprise experts from civil society and industries, district administration Khyber, EPA and Industry Department and later prepare a comprehensive action plan with clear timelines.

The technical committee would work to find lacunas in the existing EPA regulations to frame a new policy document for a KP Clean Air Act, pioneering landmark legislation ahead of other provinces.