Commissioner directs constituting committee to tackle air pollution issues

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PESHAWAR
Commissioner Peshawar Riaz Mahsud, chaired a meeting comprising high ranking officials of the district administration Peshawar and Khyber, EPA, KPEZMC, Industries Department to find a sustainable solution to the increasing menace of air pollution in Peshawar and to align government policy with COP26 declaration.
He reiterated the resolve for clean and green and a healthy environment being a top government priority.
The Commissioner Peshawar issued directives to constitute a technical committee under the supervision of ADC (G) Peshawar comprising experts from civil society and industries, District Administration Khyber, EPA and Industry Department would later prepare a comprehensive action plan with clear timelines.
The technical committee would also work to find lacunas in the existing EPA regulations to frame a new policy document for a KP Clean Air Act, pioneering a landmark legislation ahead of other provinces of Pakistan.
The SCN team was led by senior citizen Sarwar Mohmand Sarwar, former president of SCCI, besides, Prof Shafeeq ur Rehman, Dr Adil Zareef, Dr Maqbool Khan and Dr M Yousaf Sarwar. Sarwar urged punitive administrative and legislative measures against the industrial units causing serious diseases and suffering to people.
The civil society members informed that 3000 citizens in Hayatabad have signed in a recently launched petition campaign urging the KP government to support their fundamental right to clean air. This petition would also be presented to the Environmental Protection Tribunal for necessary action.
The Deputy Commissioner Khyber informed of carrying out inspections of different industrial units imposing fines and written warnings, besides, punitive action of sealing 40 units including crush machines and steel furnaces. However, some of these have been de-sealed on the directive by the Environmental Protection Tribunal.
The status quo granted to industry by Peshawar High Court, has restricted the scope of government intervention. The government resolved actions against non-complying industrial units after the final outcome of the cases are adjudicated before the Hon’ble Peshawar High Court Peshawar.
Director EPA apprised that mainly chipboard and plastic industry in industrial estate, besides steel industry in Khyber district are involved in hazardous smoke emission creating serious public health hazards. Therefore, a dedicated Assistant Director has been deputed for Khyber and Peshawar districts each for day to day monitoring/inspection. Future inspections of the industrial units would be carried out in coordination with concerned district administration.