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Industrial waste management in Pakistan.

Industrial Waste Management in Pakistan

Industrial revolution in the country would result in economic progress, prosperity, employment opportunities as has been promised by the newly elected government of Pakistan. There is, however, very little concern shown on the industrial waste management as the existing industries are causing a lot of pollution to land and environment. The liquid wastes discharge into the streams and disposal of industrial wastes by soil infiltration is certainly going to affect valuable ground-waters. The situation is going to worsen with the new industries. Secondly, more people will migrate towards cities from villages and the people population emissions will create even more disastrous effects due to the lack of proper infrastructure. Therefore, the rapid industrialization must be carried out in a well-planned manner so that emissions from people and industries do not degrade the environment further. It is needed that environmental quality control standards must be established both for waste effluent and for receiving waters to protect the environment. Environmental quality control standards for both domestic and industrial wastes were set up by the Federal Government in 1986, which have not been promulgated in their true sense as yet. These standards comprised "Relaxed Standards upto 1990" and "Ultimate Standards after 1990". The ultimate standards, however, are in fact also relaxed standards when compared with the standards adopted by the developed world. Industries in the country are of diversified nature as production of effluent is dependent upon raw material, manufacturing process, location, size and age of the plant. As such, the standards to be adopted in Pakistan require more scrutiny to be within affordable level which may require standards to be reframed for each type of industry.

While establishing the standards, it would be necessary to categorize the new and old industries. In Pakistan better chance of improvement for the new industries as with the indigenous technologies available, best demonstrated process changes in plant controls and treatment technologies which reduce pollution to maximum extent possible, can be applied. For the old industries, the situation however, is complex. In addition to the reluctancy of industrialists to adopt changes in the plant and investment on the treatment, land availability and land use restrictions are also factors which result into higher treatment costs for older facilities. As such, plant age is a significant factor to be considered in evaluating the applicability of treatment technologies. For such industries, therefore, initially relaxed standards be framed which could eventually be updated and Environmental Protection Agencies (EPA's) must promulgate these standards within a short period.

Once the environmental quality control standards are established, there is a need for promulgation of Pakistan Environmental Protection Ordinance (1983) in its true sense at both Federal and Provincial levels as none of the provincial EPA's have been able to effectively promulgate this ordinance or the already existing standards so far.

After the standards are promulgated, there is still a need for establishment of adequate monitoring system to achieve good results. Environmental data collection and its subsequent management is an immense exercise which had been ignored always by the concerned authorities. However, EPA's will have to organize this monitoring system to convince the Government to allocate special funds for this purpose so as to achieve environmental improvement continually.

At this stage we do not have resources to do much about global environmental problems such as ozone layer depletion in the atmosphere, acid rains etc. but at least we must endeavour to solve our national problems. It is high time that environmental protection problems particularly related to industrialization in the country must be realized by EPA's In this respect, their prime responsibility would be to improve their level of efficiency in planning and implementing of pollution control standards so as to effectively eliminate the pollution from industrial waste discharges.
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Title Annotation:Industry
Author:Hussain, Irshad
Publication:Economic Review
Date:Jun 1, 1991
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