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The News

Published Date: Jun 10, 2014

Start no project without EIA: speaker

Asif Shujah
Khan, former head of Pakistan Environment Protection Agency, has said
that both political and bureaucratic system should be involved in
overcoming the mercury dispersion.

Mr Khan was speaking at
launching a report ‘Bachelor of Dental Surgery Curriculum — SDPI Second
Toxic Mercury Study,’ skit Competition among local schools and launch
of a petition on toxic mercury/mercury amalgam use in dentistry,
organised here by Sustainable Development Policy Institute in
collaboration with Pakistan National Council of Arts in connection with
World Environment Day.

In a veiled reference to start of
Metro Bus Project in twin cities, Mr Khan said that Environment Impact
Assessment (EIA) must be carried out before the start of any project
rather than after it as it become meaningless. He asked SDPI to take a
step forward by launching a national level mercury reduction campaign
with government.

Dr Mehmood A Khwaja, SDPI, presenting the
report said that the study aimed at improving, evaluating and revising
the syllabus content in dental teaching institutions in Pakistan with
regard to mercury amalgam. He said that lack of awareness and
inappropriate knowledge of the practitioners resulted in increase in
mercury vapours in the air.

He said that many dental
professionals do not use preventive measures. He demanded a proper
mechanism of mercury waste management in place.

Nawaz, co-presenter of study, said that 98% respondents of the survey
wanted revision in curriculum related to use of mercury.

Shirazi called for involving Higher Education Commission in review and
revision of curriculum offered at dental teaching institution in the

On the occasion, SDPI launched a petition against
mercury. Giving a background, Mohammed Mobashir 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. He said
that a study indicated that the level of mercury at selected sites is
8-20 times higher than the permissible for human health.

Qaiyum Suleri, Executive Director, SDPI, assured SDPI’s full
co-operation and support to the government in phasing out mercury use to
protect the public health, especially that of children.