Published Date: Jun 4, 2014
SDPI Press Release (4 June 2014)
Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) held
activities on World Environment Day 2014 in collaboration with Pakistan National
Council of Arts (PNCA). The activities included a report launch: BDS (Bachelor
of Dental Surgery) Curriculum – SDPI Second Toxic Mercury Study, Skit
Competition among schools of Islamabad/Rawalpindi and launch of a petition on
Toxic Mercury/Mercury Amalgam Use in Dentistry.
In his welcome remarks, Dr. Abid Qayium Suleri, Executive Director, SDPI appreciated
the work carried out on mercury issue and holding of skit competition for
awareness raising among the youth. He assured of SDPI’s fullest co-operation
and support to the government in phasing out mercury use to protect the public
health, especially that of children. Mohammed Mobashir, SDPI presented a brief
on the World Environment Day.
In the first activity of report launch, the study aimed to improve, evaluate
and revise the syllabus content in Dental Teaching Institutions in Pakistan with
regard to mercury amalgam. Dr. Mehmood A. Khwaja, Senior Advisor Chemicals
& SID, SDPI presented the report. He said that lack of awareness and inappropriate
knowledge to the practitioners has resulted in increase in mercury vapors in
the air. Moreover, it was observed that many dental professionals do not use
preventive measures. He suggested a proper mechanism of mercury waste
management in place. Referring to survey, Sadaf Nawaz, co-presenter of study
explained that 98% respondents of SDPI survey wanted revision in curriculum related
to use of mercury.
During discussion, Anusha Shirazi, SDPI suggested to involve Higher Education
Commission (HEC) in review and revision of curriculum offered at dental
teaching institution in the country.
Asif Shujah Khan, Retd. Director General, Pakistan Environment Protection
Agency discussed that both political and bureaucratic system should be involved
in overcoming the mercury dispersion. He suggested that SDPI should take a step
forward and launch a national level mercury reduction campaign with government.
He also emphasized that Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) must be carried out
before the start of any project rather than after it as it become meaningless.
In the second activity of Skit Competition, PAEC Model College (Nilore) won
first prize, Roots International School (Westridge Branch) got 2nd prize and Dar
-e- Arqam (Ali Pur Farash) stood third amongst all. The award for the distinguished
performances went to ICAS (Islamabad College of Arts & Science, OSCS (Out
of School Children School) and Kids City High School (Kahuta). Mashood Ahmad Mirza,
Joint Secretary/DG, Ministry of information and National Heritage also the
Chief Guest of Competition appreciated the effort of schools and SDPI. He said
that SDPI took an initiative to use ART for advocacy and awareness raising on health
and environmental issues, especially among school students. "We had anticipated
that the contest would lead to greater understanding for the protection of
environment, healthy living and sustainable development" he added.
On the occasion, SDPI launched a petition against mercury. Mohammed Mobashir shared
the background of petition. He said that most recently, 140 countries signed an
agreement in Geneva to reduce mercury use and control its emission and release
by the end of the 2020. In this regard, SDPI worked on a study that indicates
the level of mercury at selected sites is 8-20 times higher than the permissible
for human health. "In the light of above study, SDPI has submitted the
list of first 1000 signatories supporting the petition against mercury to Honorable
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to urge him to consider the drafting of mercury
specific legislation against mercury poisoning across the country" he