IN THE SUPREME COURT OF PAKISTAN
Report on Environmental Problems and suggested actions
Suo Motu Case No. 3 of 2003
After 18th amendment, the jurisdiction of Pak-EPA is now limited to ICT since July, 2011. The Pak-EPA is responsible for enforcement of the Pakistan Environmental Protection Act (PEPA) 1997 and its rules. The major instrument of enforcement are the National Environmental Quality Standards (NEQS), Initial Environmental Examination (IEE) /Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Regulations, 2000, Hospital Waste Management Rules 2005 and the Oxo Biodegradable Rules, 2013 (Brief status of the environmental challenges in ICT and suggested recommendations is placed at F/A).
The major environmental challenges and threats in ICT are:
- Dumping of untreated sewage into water bodies / reservoirs.
- Open dumping of solid waste close to residential areas.
- Air pollution due to emission from vehicles and industrial units.
- Dumping of untreated effluent into water bodies.
- Disposal of solid waste into open dumping and without proper incinerator.
- Non compliance of the IEE/EIA Rules 2000 by CDA / ICT.
- Encroachments of green belts and un-authorized construction in the Margalla, Shakar Parian and Zone-IV national parks.
The major constraints faced by Pak-EPA are:
i. Non-functioning of Environmental Protection Tribunal (EPT) in Islamabad for the long period of time.
ii. Lack of power to take cognizance of offence by the enforcement team.
iii. Lack of power to compound offences by the enforcement team.
iv. Lack of cooperation during enforcement civic agencies like CDA, ICT etc.
v. Weak Institutional capacity and autonomy of power to Pak-EPA to enforcements for laws.
- Revision of Pakistan Environmental Protection Act, 1997 to cop with the emerging environmental challenges after the 18th amendment.
Action taken: Draft revised Act, 2015 with already submitted to Law Division for vetting.
- Establishment of the National Environmental Regulatory Authority (NERA) with enhanced power and increased capacity.
Action taken: Provision has been incorporated in the revised Pakistan Environmental Protection Act, 2015 which is already been submitted to the Law Division.
- Establishment of the Clean Environment Fund for availability of funding and its utilization through authorization by the Board of Directors.
Action taken: The article of association has already been submitted to the Security Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) for incorporation/ registration.
- The control of the dumping of the untreated sewage into Rawal Lake under the Supreme Court of Pakistan Order.
Action taken: The PC-1 has been prepared and submitted to the Planning Commission for development of the state of art technology to recycle/ treat the sewage. The upstream population of the Rawal Lake, Bani Gala, Bara Kahu and Bari Imam and Murree Municipality.
- The management of the solid waste by CDA/ ICT using the international base practice of segregation of the solid waste at source has to be developed by the CDA and ICT aiming at Zero waste. The Islamabad High Court has already directed CDA to prepare State of the Art Technology for management of solid waste on sustainable basis involving Pak-EPA.
Action taken: Pak-EPA is pursuing CDA for development of the sustainable solid waste management technology but so far response from CDA sluggish.
- Hospital Waste: ICT has got over 50 big hospitals in the public and private sector besides similar number of small Clinics and Diagnostic laboratories. Pak-EPA is conducting survey for making inventory and mapping of the hospitals. Almost 80% of these hospitals does not possess incinerator facility now does they provide their centralize incinerator facility and dump the hospital waste in the open garbage dumping, which is dangerous of the human health and environment. Pak-EPA after consultation with the various national and international technology stakeholder and identify international German firm, ELBA for establishment of centralize integrated and hospital and hazardous waste recycling facility for Islamabad, which is at final stage of approval process by ELBA company and German firm (KFW).
- CDA and ICT administration are not cooperating in enforcement of the provisions of conducting IEE/EIA and allows mega projects without undertaking IEE/EIA. In addition green belts are being converted into parking yards and commercial activities, Margalla, Shakar Parian and Zone IV national parks.
(Fahim Riaz Khan)
Director (A,L/E), Pak-EPA.