Experts urge joint efforts to save Karachi from rising pollution

Sameer Nazir
Karachi:
Government and private sector representatives have called for making joint efforts to save Karachi from rising environment degradation like air and marine pollution hitting the city and human health hard. “Disposing of and discharging of sewerage, garbage and medical waste have emerged a big challenge due huge rise in population in the city, hence, government, private sector and all people will have to contribute efforts for environment cleaning and greening for their good identity and health,” they said while addressing environment excellence award distribution ceremony, organized by National Forum for Environment and Health (NFEH) at a local hotel. Commissioner Karachi Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui, Chairman Qaiser Waheed & President Mohammad Naeem Qureshi of NFEH, Administrator Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) Rauf Akhter Farooqui, former adviser to Prime Minister ​ Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, representatives of award winning companies and prominent social leader Ishtiaq Baig were also present on the occasion.

Speaking on the occasion, former ​adviser to Prime Minister ​ Mirza Ikhtiar Baig said that Ozone layer had burst due to massive air pollution and carbon emissions, raising temperatures globally and causing massive floods in Pakistan and other parts of the world.

He said that a new concept of green industries had been introduced in the developed world under which companies were given certification for conducting environment friendly business, which was a good omen. He said: “Pakistan is low ​ ​in carbon emissions as compared to India, China, South Korea, US and several other countries, but there is still need to make efforts to bring carbon emissions down.” The glaciers are melting due to global temperatures, causing rise in sea level and cyclones, he said.

Zahid Hussain, former CEO OGDCL, said that corporate sector should play due role for environment conservation. The governments environment programs have failed by 72 percent while remaining others were failed by public. He said:

“Waste is being burnt openly which also cause air pollution. Precautions are not being carried out here as a result, actions could not be taken against polluters.” KMC Administrator Rauf Akhter Farooqui said that population of Karachi had risen to 2.5 crores, hence, there was need to pay more attention on good governance. “We all should play due roles to cleanse the city. If every citizen plants one tree, then we will have more 2.5 crore trees in the city.”

He said: “We have environment and other laws, but fact is that people are violating them massively. Almost all people know these laws but there is low penalty in this regard and that is why violation of laws is on the rise in Pakistan.

“It is irony that doctors are paid Rs10,000 to Rs20,000 salary. Environment cleaning and greening is the only identity of nations these days, if we have degraded environment, we will not be identified as good,” KMC administrator concluded.

Mirza Ishtiaq Baig said that Pakistan needed strict implementation of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in corporate sector, which would help in environment cleaning and social development. He said companies should be bound under laws to spend one percent of their income on CSR.

He said: “All garbage in the city is being discharged into sea which causes heavy pollution, while city seems to be a desert due to low number of trees. In the recent past, the city seemed beautiful because of lot of trees. He stressed the need for planting more and more trees in Karachi.

Commissioner Karachi distributed awards among GlaxoSmithKline Pakistan, Sui Southern Gas Company Ltd, Dalda Foods PVT Ltd, Dr Essa Laboratories & Diagnostic, Adamjee Insurance Company limited, Interdesign FMC, Total Oil Pakistan Pvt Ltd, Pakistan Refinery Ltd, Getz Pharma, Pfizer Pakistan Ltd, Wyeth Pakistan Ltd, Port Qasim Authority, Engro Powergen Qadirpur Ltd, International Power Global Developments Ltd, Security Papers, Pak Oasis Pvt Ltd, Eco Bags, Pakistan Press International (PPI) Nawaz Khuhro.