The Express Tribune
Published Date: Jun 11, 2019
Policy on electric vehicles soon: Aslam
ISLAMABAD: Adviser 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 materialising the policy on electric vehicles to tackle air pollution. The Prime Minister Imran Khan 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”, organised 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 urbanisation, 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 realisation 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.
SDPI Executive Director Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri said unpredictability of climate change and air pollution is hampering 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.
Chinese Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Lijian Zhao 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 and 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 and programmes, including SMART programme for industrial gases emissions, hazardous POPs chemicals emissions and releases from hospital wastes incinerators, brick kilns, indoor and outdoor air contamination with mercury vapours at dental sites.
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 and 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.
At the closing ceremony, two students, Uzma Jabeen from Fatima Jinnah University and Muhammad 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.