ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Climate Change has directed the Pakistan Environment Protection Agency (Pak-EPA) to submit reports about effluents and gaseous emissions by industrial units in the capital city.

In a letter to Pak-EPA, Climate Change Secretary Hassan Nasir Jami noted that the agency was unable to introduce a monitoring mechanism to analyse updated information on liquid effluents and gaseous emissions discharged by industrial units.

Environmental rules provide for all industrial units to submit correct and timely environmental monitoring reports comprising both liquid effluents and gaseous emissions.

These monitoring reports are expected to include various parameters, such as sampling, testing and analysis of effluents and emissions in accordance with the environmental sampling rules, notified in 2001 by the federal government.

However, Climate Change Secretary Hassan Nasir Jami has directed the Pak-EPA director general to provide a compliance report on data generation with respect to the self-monitoring and reporting information system to the ministry on priority basis.

Rules provide for industrial units to submit timely environmental monitoring reports

Mr Jami also directed the agency to conduct on immediate basis an activity for developing and managing an information management system in this regard.

The information of the monitoring reports regarding liquid effluents and gaseous emissions of the industrial units should be made public.

Besides, attention of the Pak-EPA director general was also drawn to the Collection and Calculation Rules 2001, which allow developing a discharge licensing system. The method allows a ‘pollution charge’ to be levied according to pollution load computed as per the rules.

The letter reads: “It is the role of the industrial units to make sure that correct reporting and calculation of charges related to pollution is done.”

Nasir Jami believed that enforcement of pollution charges was an important tool. It aligns the industry towards the path of environment compliance.

“These charges bind industries to lower their effluents,” he said, asking the environment watchdog to submit a compliance report in this regard.

Drawing Pak-EPA’s attention to the Initial Environment Examination (IEE) and Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Regulations 2002, which enlist the projects requiring environmental assessments, Nasir Jami has also requested a compliance report regarding EIAs and IEE of different projects approved over the last two years.

Talking to Dawn, Pak-EPA Director General Farzana Altaf Shah said seven steel furnaces were submitting real time data of the emissions discharged from their chimneys.

“These furnaces have been able to capture more than five tons of carbon that was emitted before they installed emissions control technology,” Ms Shah said.

According to the official, particulate matter measuring 2.5 parts per million, invisible to the human eye, is higher these days due to zero winds that blow away pollution. During school days, air pollution is the highest in the city.

Farzana Shah said a stationary as well as a mobile air monitoring unit are functional in Islamabad that provided data on air pollution regularly.

“We need five air monitoring units around Islamabad to check emissions from heavy traffic from G.T. Road as well as stone crushing units on the outskirts of the city,” the official said.

Published in Dawn, October 29th, 2019

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