QUETTA: Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan expressed displeasure over the fact that the Provincial Environmental Protection Council (PEPC) had not met, adding it highlighted the lack of interest of the institutions concerned over serious matters.

Jam Kamal, while presiding over a meeting on environmental issues, called the first meeting of the PEPC and announced that a comprehensive policy framework will be developed at the provincial level considering issues of climate change and protection of the environment.

The chief minister, who also chairs the PEPC, said that flawed policies had exacerbated the problems in the province. However, he added that all departments concerned and other forums will be turned around to effectively address the key issues of environment. He also directed that all ministers who were serving departments related to environmental issues be made part of the council.

The government will provide facilities to all revenue generating departments to make them self-sufficient, and to efficiently do that, legislation will be moved.

The meeting also decided to expand the Provincial Environ­mental Agency and announced that vacant positions will be filled. The chief minister directed the Provincial Environment Depart­ment to share environment protection rules with all state-owned and private companies.

The meeting approved establishing a new department, the Hospital Waste Management Authority, to manage waste disposal of government and private hospitals as well as laboratories.

Environment Secretary Abdul Saboor Kakar informed the session that inspectors had been checking hospitals and laboratories for signs of environmental pollution, and those found guilty had been fined and sealed for violating rules.

“We have sent recommendations about installing an incinerator plant in the Bolan Medical College that will facilitate waste disposal in private hospitals,” he said. To reduce the use of plastic bags, he added, they had introduced alternative eco-friendly bags. “Two factories have been established to produce environmental friendly bags. The samples have been sent to Lahore for tests after which the new bags will be used.”

Published in Dawn, October 5th, 2018

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