Environmental Profile of Sind on anvil

Karachi: A one-day workshop to review and finalize the Environmental Profile of Sind EPS was organized here Thursday by the Federal Ministry of Climate Change under its project National Environmental Information Management System NEIMS in collaboration with the Environment and Alternative Energy Department Government of Sind.

All the stakeholders reviewed the various contents of the EPS and gave their valuable suggestions to improve it further. It was decided that after its finalization it would be made public to disseminate comprehensive information about the environment of Sind.

Secretary, Provincial Environment and Alternative Energy Department, Mir Hussain Ali in his address said the compilation of Environmental Profile of Sind at the government level is a step in right direction because it will facilitate further actions for the improvement and protection of the natural environment of Sind.

Highlighting the overall performance of the Environment Department he said that so far the manpower of the department has been more than doubled in previous three years. He further said that numbers of regional offices of EPA Sind have been raised from two to five in previous three years. He pledged seven more district environment offices will be opened in next fiscal year.

Earlier in his welcome address Director General Environmental Protection Agency Government of Sind Rafiuddin said that during previous three years more than two thousands industries of Sind province were served notices and so far 24 out of them have been prosecuted while the cases of the rest of the violating industries are being prosecuted on war footing basis.

He further said that during previous three years nearly 21,000 vehicles were monitored across the Sind province under Vehicular Emission Control Program of EPA Sind. Out of them 15,500 found environmentally fit while rest were found polluting the environment in excess of the limits set by the National Environmental Quality Standards NEQS.

Speaking on the occasion National Project Manager National Environmental Information Management System, Mehboob Elahi said that the compilation, integration and management of environmental data have been a very critical problem, and without any proper environmental reporting & management system, it seems very hard to cope up with various environment sectors’ problems. However, he added, with the collective efforts of all the stakeholders this data has been compiled successfully.

Giving his presentation on Overview on Environmental Profile of Sind, Waqar Hussain Phulpoto, Director Technical EPA Sind, said that total 16 environmental sectors were covered to compile the data for the EPS on air, water, land use, vehicular emission, noise pollution, solid waste and drinking water. The status of environment of the drinking water found quite alarming with a loud calling for immediate action to improve it, he added.

Briefing the workshop on the Objectives of Provincial Environmental Profile and Related Sectors including Environmental Legislation and Industrial Profile of Sind, Muhammad Imran Sabir, EIA Expert of EPA Sind said that compilation of such vast data was an uphill task but with the active support and cooperation of all the stakeholders we made it in a reasonable span of time.

At the end, a heated question and answer session was held in which suggestions and views of the stakeholders on EPS were noted which will be incorporated in the report. Mahmood Akhtar Cheema, Country Representative of IUCN Pakistan and Dr. Samina Kidwai of National Institute of Oceanography also spoke on the occasion.

It may be pointed out that recognizing the need for development of a comprehensive system for developing, managing and utilizing environmental information for informed decision making, the erstwhile Ministry of Environment now it is Ministry of Climate Change included “Establishment of Environmental Information Management System” as a key component of National Environmental Action Plan Support Programme NEAPSP which is being implemented with the assistance of UNDP and donor agencies to support realization of the National Environmental Action Plan NEAP, approved by Pakistan’s highest policy making forum i.e. Pakistan Environmental Protection Council in 2001.