SEEME Ezdi presiding over the meeting of the Senate Standing Committee.—APP
SEEME Ezdi presiding over the meeting of the Senate Standing Committee.—APP

ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Climate Change on Thursday recommended converting public transport for educational institutions into electric vehicles (EV).

Members of the committee learnt at a briefing from the Ministry of Climate Change that vehicular emission contributed 43 per cent of air pollution.

The meeting was presided over by Senator Seeme Ezdi, which discussed in detail the alarming situation of smog, air quality monitoring mechanism and preventive measures taken by the Ministry of Climate Change to improve air quality.

The committee was briefed on the overall environmental situation in the country. The secretary of Climate Change and EPA DG informed the members that the main contributors to the air pollution were industrial units, vehicles and brick kilns.

Senate body discusses steps to improve air quality in cities

For the eradication of air pollution different measures have been taken. The committee was informed that in federal capital out of 63 brick kilns, 20 had installed pollution control technology.

The committee was informed that 43pc of air pollution was caused by vehicular emission and on Islamabad Expressway alone around 400,000 vehicles moved daily.

These issues have prompted the government to take strict actions, which included its commitment of conversion of 30pc of all transport to cleaner and greener electric vehicles.

The Committee also stressed the need for developing enabling environment for switching to EVs by incentivising users and also unanimously recommended that vehicles of the educational institutions should be converted to electric vehicles.

Senator Taj Haider informed the committee that currently Karachi was facing worst pollution problem. He said that focus should be on how to recycle the pollutants.

He also stressed that there should be a mechanism for plastic recycling.

Senator Faisal Javed said the prime minister took the challenge of the environmental issues of Pakistan and did a tremendous job which was being appreciated by international community.

He added that in this regard lot of projects had been started, which included billion tree, construction of dams in ten years, urban forest in Lahore.

These projects would help the country in tackling the climate related issues. He said that in Pakistan 3.3 million tonnes garbage was being produced annually.

He said that according to the World Bank report Pakistan was the only country, which spent 44pc of its funds on environment friendly projects.

Senator Abida Mohammad Azeem said that people in Balochistan were forced to burn pine trees due to non-availability of gas in the region.

Senator Keshoo Bai raised the issue of smog, especially in Lahore and other parts of the country.

Senator Dr Mohammad Hamayun Mohmand argued that environmental issues had become the issues of the whole country. He also stressed the need for having data driven and evidence based policy making.

The Committee meeting was briefed by Secretary of Climate Change Sikander Qayyum, and EPA DG Farzana Altaf Shah.

Moreover, the committee appreciated the work performed by EPA despite acute shortage of staff and recommended that the Ministry of Climate Change should work on addressing this issue at an urgent basis.

Chairperson of the committee Senator Seeme Ezdi said that it was a duty to provide safe environment to the people of Pakistan.

Published in Dawn, December 10th, 2021

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