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Mitigating pollution: PM Imran Khan urges incentivising industry to relocate from cities

December 04, 2021
Mitigating pollution: PM Imran Khan urges incentivising industry to relocate from cities

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Friday called for incentivising industry for shifting their units in the cities to outside location and the use of modern technology for environmental safety, saying there is no room for negligence anymore.

While presiding over a meeting on pollution-related issues in the country, he noted how the developed countries had shifted to modern technology including conversion of public transport to electric vehicles (EVs). He said that new buses for all metros in the country should be electric vehicles.

The PM directed the Punjab government to adopt a comprehensive smog control policy at the earliest. He directed the federal government and provincial governments of Punjab and KP to immediately work on a short-, medium- and long-term comprehensive plan for forward looking policies with the timelines for implementation.

“Although pollution is a silent killer, saving environment had not been priority of the past governments. Now there is no room for negligence anymore,” he said. He ordered for putting in place robust air quality control system, getting major industrial units like brick-kilns and steel furnaces relocated to outside the cities with effective restrictions, and incentivising use of quality fuel and gradual replacement of vehicles with electric vehicles. He also stressed the need for dialogue with regional countries to protect the environment through collective efforts.

Earlier, the PM was briefed that vehicles, industrial units, burning of waste material and burning of crops remains were the major sources of air pollution. “We should also take all steps to increase green cover of our cities through Miyawaki forest technique,” he added. The prime minister highlighted the importance of massive public awareness campaign to bring behavioural change in people for protection of environment.

The meeting was attended by SAPM on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam and Minister of State on Information & Broadcasting Farrukh Habib, KP CM Mahmood Khan and senior officers concerned. CM Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar joined the meeting via video-link.

Separately, PM Imran Khan said on Friday the low-transmission season is a crucial stage and “we all have to act against polio with killer instincts”. While addressing a meeting called to review arrangements for the upcoming polio eradication drive, he directed the provincial chief secretaries and deputy commissioners to sustain the polio eradication drive with vigour and focus. Likewise, the PM directed the district governments to take measures for deterrent legal action in cases of harassment or attacks on polio workers.

“I highly appreciate the hard work done by provincial chief secretaries and deputy commissioners for polio eradication,” the PM said. He also appreciated the efforts made by workers of polio teams who reach out to children in far-flung areas of the country. “These workers are performing a national service and deserve special appreciation.”

Prime Minister directed SAPM on Health Services to come up with a plan for rewards to the best performing polio workers and reiterated synergising routine immunizations with the anti-polio campaigns.

He also emphasised maximising efforts for COVID-19 vaccinations as a proactive measure against the spread of new variant omicron. Earlier, the meeting was informed that southern districts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, districts of Balochistan including Quetta, Qila Abdullah and Pishin and districts of Sindh including Hyderabad and Karachi were the most vulnerable to the spread of polio through sewage water.

It was also informed that international organisations were acknowledging the efforts of the Pakistan government to counter COVID-19 and polio. The meeting was attended by SAPM Dr Faisal Sultan, Parliamentary Secretary for Health Dr Nausheen Hamid and senior officials.

Chief secretaries of Punjab, Sindh, KP and Balochistan and deputy commissioners of more than 30 districts also attended the meeting via video-link. Separately, Federal Minister for Industries and Production Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar called on Prime Minister Imran Khan. A briefing on fertilizer production capacity in the country was given to the meeting. The minister also briefed the PM on the steps taken by the ministry to facilitate large-scale industry and export industry.

The PM was also apprised of the progress being made on the ongoing development projects in south Punjab and the positive effects of the government initiatives taken for the benefit of farmers.