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Govt attaches high priority to healthy environment to improve quality of life of the people of Pakistan.

By ISLAMABAD, March 29, 2010 (Frontier Star): Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani said the Government attaches high priority to healthy environment to improve the quality of life of the people of Pakistan by reducing the incidence of death and illness caused by environment-borne diseases and minimizing impact of global climate change. According to PM House Spokesman, while chairing 11th meeting of the Pakistan Environmental Protection Council (PEPC) here, Prime Minister said the challenges to environment and sustainable development are many and require concerted actions at the federal, provincial and local levels. He particularly mentioned that environment is one of the 5 Es viz employment, education, energy and equality being the other four of the manifesto of Pakistan Peoples Party. The Prime Minister directed the Ministry of Environment to coordinate with the provinces for setting up of Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency at District levels. He also directed to take necessary measures for disposal of trash left by the visitors on the glaciers which was polluting the pristine environment of our natural heritage. He also decided to hold bi-annual meeting of the PEPC to monitor progress and ensure effective implementation of the Councils decisions. While approving the proposal on Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), he asked the State Bank of Pakistan to direct all the Banks and Financial Institutions to create / establish Carbon Credit Calculation and Implementation Units to encourage investment in CDM projects in different potential Areas for determining its Internal Rate of Return (IRR) as a factor for project viability. The Pakistan Environmental Protection Council approved the National Standards for Drinking Water Quality (NSDWQ) in the meeting which had been developed in collaboration with WHO, UNICEF, M/o Health, Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources and National University of Sciences and Technology through a country-wide consultative process, and urged the provinces to implement the recommendation to address the issue of water-borne diseases. Regarding National Environmental Quality Standards (NEQS) for noise, ambient air and motor vehicle exhaust/noise, it was suggested in the meeting that the provinces may install noise measuring equipment in major cities which will help in creating public awareness effectively. The Prime Minister observed that meeting water crises and protection of its quality, preventing depletion of our aquifers and fresh water resources, enhancing coverage of reliable drinking water supply and sanitation both in urban and rural areas are challenges which need to be addressed. He also stressed upon the need for controlling air quality in urban and industrial area, reversing the adverse inputs of climate change on our economy and ecology, and massive afforestation, re-forestation and conservation of Biodiversity requires concerted efforts of both public and private sectors. The Prime Minister said that he had the privilege of being the 1st Federal Minister for Environment and Urban Affairs in early 1980s. He stated that the President of Pakistan himself championed this programme when Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhuttos government appointed him as the chairperson of Pakistan Environment Protection Council. He pointed out that major expansion in the Ministry of Environment occurred during PPP tenure from 1995-1997 as well as seven out of 10 previous meetings of this Council were held during this period. Therefore, it clearly reflects that the subject of Environment is very dear to this Government. In order to fulfil our commitments to environment, the Prime Minister said his government declared 2009 as National Year of Environment, fixed 18th August as National Tree Plantation Day, launched massive afforestation campaign of planting 4.5 million saplings in a day which brought an honour to the country for inclusion in the Guineas Book of World Record. He also mentioned in the meeting that the Cabinet approved National Drinking Water Policy and National Energy Conservation Policy, and also set up a national committee on Climate Change. The Prime Minister thanked the Chief Ministers of Sindh, Balochistan, NWFP and Gilgit-Baltistan, Federal and Provincial Ministers for Environment, Provincial Information Minister of NWFP, Federal and Provincial Secretaries, senior representatives of the Chambers of Commerce, APTMA eminent professionals, members of civil society organizations and the private sector for their participation in the meeting. The Prime Minister appreciated the efforts of the Ministry and the role played by the Pakistan Environmental Protection Council (PEPC) for launching public awareness programme on environmental issues and providing necessary guidance to address the challenges. He also commended the contributions of the UNICEF, media, NGOs, numerous experts and other stakeholders who provide useful inputs in finalization of policy.

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Publication:The Frontier Star (Northwest Frontier Province, Pakistan)
Date:Mar 29, 2010
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