KARACHI: The Sindh Enviro­nmental Protection Agency (Sepa) at a meeting held at a local hotel on Thur­sday announced having fina­l­ised draft of ‘cleaner production policy’ for the province in collaboration with the World Wide Fund for Nature-Pakistan (WWF-P).

The policy document would now be put on Sepa’s official website for a month for a review and comments under Section 18 of the Sindh Environmental Prote­ction Act, 2014. Later, it would be sent to the law department for vetting and then to the provincial cabinet for approval.

Once approved, the policy would be applicable to all production and manufacturing sectors of the province.

In his keynote speech, minister for environment and coastal development Muh­­a­mmad Ismail Rahu, the chief guest, appreciated the basic concept of cleaner production and said it’s the continued application of an integrated preventive environmental strategy applied to processes, products and ser­vices to increase overall efficiency and reduce risks to humans and the environment.

“The draft of the cleaner production policy would provide detailed guidelines to the manufacturing and services sectors for safer production practices,” he said.

The initiative, he pointed out, had been taken to develop a robust cleaner production policy and in the later stages, the document might provide a framework for implementation of certain standards to address the environmental challenges posed by (unsafe) industrial operations.

“Once this policy is approved by the provincial cabinet, Sindh will be the leading province to introduce cleaner production in Pakistan,” he said.

The minister expressed gratitude to WWF-P, the key author of the policy, and all those technical experts who contributed their valuable inputs in bringing the proposed policy to its final stage.

Naeem Ahmed Mughal, Sepa director general, said the agency was striving hard to ensure implementation of environmental standards in the province by taking a number of initiatives, which included action against polluters, introduction of measures to mitigate pollution as well as campaigns for tree plantation.

He praised WWF-Pakistan’s efforts in providing technical support to Sepa.

Sharing his thoughts, Dr Tahir Rasheed of WWF-Pakistan said industrial sector was the backbone of the country’s economy and the policy would help improve its performance by providing a framework for environmentally sound processes and equipment.

Head of freshwater programme and WWF-P’s senior manager Sohail Ali Naqvi said the policy was the need of the hour for sustainable environmental growth.

“We are fortunate that Sindh province has taken this remarkable initiative, which may be replicated by other provinces at a later stage. It will have a clear impact on the GSP-plus reporting.”

Additional director general of Sepa Waqar Hussain Phulpoto, the focal person of the policy document process, thanked the audience for their participation in the meeting.

Published in Dawn, October 15th, 2021

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