PESHAWAR, Feb 7: Speakers at a seminar on Tuesday said that lack of political will to implement environment laws in the province had resulted in the degradation of environment.

Pakistan Environmental Protection Foundation (PEPF) president Shahnawaz said that the population in Peshawar was rapidly increasing, adding to pollution. The air, water and soil in the city are all polluted.

The PEPF launched an environmental awareness campaign here on Tuesday.

Speaking at the seminar the PEPF had organized in collaboration with the Peshawar Press Club as part of its campaign, Mr Shahnawaz said that his organisation had been working since 1998 to create awareness about environmental protection and was a member of the World Conservation Union.

PEPF vice-president Anwar Jamsheid regretted the government’s indifference towards non-implementation of environment laws. “The foundation is disappointed with the performance of local and provincial governments as both have failed to implement environment laws. The concerned departments have not taken any steps to protect environment,” he observed.

He said population growth had created many problems and it was almost impossible to keep the city clean for want of motivation and awareness among public.

Other participants pointed out that vehicles emitted gases which were injurious to health. The frequent use of pressure horns was creating noise pollution.

There were more than 20,000 rickshaw that were one of the main sources of noise and air pollution in the city.

Representatives of civil society groups said that the local government had even failed to arrange for garbage collection points in the city.

Speakers criticised the concerned departments and the Environmental Protection Agency for their failure in ensuring the ban on polythene bags which had blocked the sewerage system at many places. Similarly, they said, poisonous wastes from industries were polluting the water and brick kilns were polluting the air.

“There is an airport in the thickly-populated area of the city which is causing noise pollution.

It should be shifted outside the city as it poses a threat to public life,” one participant demanded.

NWFP Information Minister Asif Iqbal Daudzai said that public motivation and awareness were needed to protect the environment.

He said almost all the government vehicles were fitted with CNG kits to avoid pollution.

As for the noise and air pollution, he pointed out, it was because of a large number of unregistered vehicles that were plying on roads illegally.

He announced that the government would soon introduce CNG busses on 21 routes in the city to help check pollution.

He a proposal was under consideration to build an airport on the outskirts of the city.