Protecting Environment | Editorial

It is imperative for Pakistan to work towards countering the devastating effects of climate change and global warming considering the fact that we are among countries most vulnerable to impacts of erratic weather patterns. Recently Minister of State for Climate Change Zartaj Gul warned housing societies in the federal capital against violation of environmental laws and using greenbelts for commercial purposes. She said stern action would be taken against violators of relevant laws, though she admitted that “some housing societies are using greenbelts and parks for commercial purposes.” The second part of the minister’s statement is not surprising given our propensity to take pride in not sticking to the rule of law. She said the Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency was holding public hearings on development projects and housing societies, and her ministry would further strengthen and empower the EPA to take strict action against the violators. The minister said such societies had obtained no-objection certificates by declaring parks and greenbelts commercial plots in their environmental assessment reports submitted to the EPA. She warned that if they were found violating the law, their NOCs would be cancelled.
She said PM Imran Khan had removed the cap on the construction of high-rise buildings in Islamabad with a view to encouraging horizontal expansion of the city with the aim of protecting greenery. The minister said the government had also taken serious notice of the use of mercury in cosmetics beyond the permissible limits and the use of the metal in filing teeth cavities. Legislation is being prepared to prevent the use of mercury for these purposes. Mercury is a harmful substance.
We welcome the government’s action being taken for protecting the environment. It is mostly human activity that is harming the environment. This is because of reckless consumption. Mankind has made the planet Earth look like: “I came; I conquered; I made it awkward.” This needs to be reversed.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 29th, 2019.

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