Published Date: Jun 10, 2019
Govt. to introduce policy on electric vehicles to tackle air pollution
ISLAMABAD: Advisor to Prime Minister on Climate Change, Malik Amin Aslam said emissions from the vehicles remained one of the largest contributors to air pollution and the government is moving towards the direction of materializing the policy on electric vehicles to tackle air pollution.
The Prime Minister has approved the initial concept of the proposal and policy consultation with the key stakeholders is in the process, which will be presenting in the cabinet in a couple of weeks, he added.
During a seminar titled “World Environment Day 2019: Air Pollution”, organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here at Islamabad, Malik Amin Aslam said electric vehicles will solve many of our issues including air pollution, issues of unmet capacity charges, reduce fuel import bill and save two third cost of the transportation.
Moreover, around eight billion rupees has been allocated in this budget for ten billion tree tsunami programme, where provinces will share equal amount to help tackle climate change and air pollution.
Malik Amin Aslam said air pollution is a global phenomenon amid growing urbanization, where big metropolitans of the world are responsible for 75 per cent of the air pollution of the world. He said air pollution and climate change is now taking a toll on Pakistan’s economic and social front, as we followed the world in the wrong direction. However, there is now realization among the economic gurus of the country that climate change and air pollution has economic and social cost.
Pakistan needs to change its thinking toward economy and show strong political commitment towards these serious issues of climate change and air pollution, he remarked.
The challenge for us is lack of authentic data on air pollution. For that, the government is in the process of setting up around 10 air monitoring stations across Pakistan to get updated and authentic data, he added.
Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri, Executive Director SDPI said unpredictability of climate change and air pollution is hampering our economy and wellbeing of the society. Owing to unpredictable environmental extreme events, Pakistan has done very badly in agriculture sector this year, where air pollution is one of the major causes of poor growth. He said air pollution is also impacting the insects and photosynthesis mechanism which impacted the growth of plants. He urged the governments, industry, communities and individuals to come together to explore renewable energy, green technologies and improve air quality in cities and regions.
Lijian Zhao, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of China in Pakistan said it is the responsibility of every individual to help tackle the issue of air pollution. However, the government has to take the lead and must take stringent measures to cope with the issue of climate change and air pollution. He said China has significantly reduce the air pollution through promoting the culture of electric vehicles, adapting the advance clean technology in coal power plants, producing more electricity through solar and wind and clean waste management methods. He said Pakistan can learn a lot from China to tackle air pollution.
Dr. Mahmood A. Khwaja, Senior Adviser, Chemicals, Hazardous Wastes/Sites & Sustainable industrial development at SDPI, speaking on “SDPI Research Contributions to Air Pollution in Pakistan,” gave an account of the completed and ongoing research projects/program, including SMART program for industrial gases emissions, hazardous POPs chemicals emissions and releases from hospital wastes incinerators/brick kilns, indoor/outdoor air contamination with mercury vapors at dental sites (hospitals, dentistry education institutions & dental clinics), promotion of energy efficient technologies to reduce air pollution and fuel consumption, Mali declaration and the need for a legally binding agreement on trans-boundary air pollution control among countries in South Asia and air pollution due to CPEC Northern Section road route (Haripur to Khunjarab) construction activities. Dr. Khwaja highlighted some of the findings of the on-going comparative assessment of Pakistan ambient air quality standards (AAQSs), with 13 South & South East Asian countries and WHO.
Dr. Hina Aslam, Associate Research Fellow, SDPI said since China has emerged as a climate leader, Pakistan can draw lessons from Chinese technological and policy interventions in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and tackle climate change.
Maryam Shabbir, Environmental Expert, SDPI while moderating the seminar highlighted the health impacts of air pollution, where every year 22,000 pre mature deaths are caused due to outdoor air pollution in Pakistan whereas indoor air pollution causes 28,000 deaths.
Dean of the Faculty of Science & Technology, Fatima Jinnah Women University, Prof. Dr. Uzaira Rafique said we have to see the issue of air pollution in totality, not in isolation or bit and pieces. Otherwise, all the strategies, policies and efforts will go in vein.
She said the basic role of academia is to give the picture of the issue in totally and connect and relate the things. Keeping in the perceptive, sensitization is very crucial on issues of climate change and air pollution through raising awareness, she added.
At the closing ceremony, two brilliant young students, Uzma Jabeen from Fatima Jinnah University and M. Waseem from Abdul Wali Khan University, Mardan, were awarded with first and runner-up awards, respectively, for presenting their innovative ideas to tackle air pollution through a competition.