ISLAMABAD: Adviser to Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam on Monday said emissions from vehicles remained one of the largest contributors to air pollution and the government was moving towards formulation of a policy to introduce electric vehicles for tackling the issue.

Speaking at a seminar, ‘World Environment Day 2019: Beat Air Pollution’, he said the prime minister had approved the initial concept of the proposal and policy consultations with key stakeholders were in progress and would be presenting in the cabinet in a couple of weeks.

The seminar was organised by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI).

Mr Aslam said electric vehicles would solve many of issues, including air pollution, unmet capacity charges besides reducing fuel import bill and saving two-third cost of transportation.

“Around Rs8 billion have been allocated in this budget for the 10 billion tree tsunami programme to which provinces will contribute an equal amount to help tackle climate change and air pollution.”

Mr Aslam said air pollution was a global phenomenon and taking a toll on Pakistan’s economic and social front.

He acknowledged that lack of authentic data on air pollution in Pakistan was a challenge.

“The government is in the process of setting up around 10 air monitoring stations across Pakistan to gather updated and authentic data,” he added.

Lijian Zhao, deputy chief of mission at the embassy of China, said it was the responsibility of every individual to help tackle the issue of air pollution.

But the government should take the lead with stringent measures to cope with the issue of climate change and air pollution.

“China has significantly reduced air pollution through promoting the culture of electric vehicles, adapting advance clean technology in coal power plants, producing more electricity through solar and wind and clean waste management methods.” Pakistan can learn a lot from China to tackle air pollution, he added.

Dean of the faculty of science and technology, Fatima Jinnah Women University, Prof Dr Uzaira Rafique said we have to see the issue of air pollution in its totality, not in isolation or bit and pieces.

She said keeping in the perceptive, sensitisation was very crucial on issues of climate change and air pollution through raising awareness.

APP adds: The adviser to prime minister on climate change said millions of trees had been planted in the industrial areas of Islamabad.

He said the government would also plant more trees in the industrial areas of the capital to become a role model for rest of the country.

He said less than five per cent of Pakistan’s total area was under forest cover and 1.5pc of these forests were lost every year.

This has profound impacts on Pakistan’s environment and there was a need for planting maximum numbers of trees.

Mr Aslam said planting more trees was the best way to cope with negative effects of climate change.

Published in Dawn, June 11th, 2019