Partner: BSI, UNIDO
Locale: Khyber Pakhtunkhawa, Punjab , Sindh, Islamabad
Team Members: Dr. Mahmood A. Khwaja
SDPI inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Blacksmith Institute (BSI), USA , for the on-going Global Inventory Project (GIP) and is carrying out mapping of chemical contaminated sites in Pakistan, to safeguard public health and environment in and around the polluted site area. Other partners in this joint project are the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, Green Cross Switzerland and European Commission. SDPI is the focal point of BSI in Pakistan.
The main aim of the Global Inventory Project (GIP) is to identify and assess the contaminated sites in over 80 countries throughout the world. Another key objective of the GIP is to provide data to governments and international organizations that will enable them to prioritize activities and programs that will mitigate risks to the environment & health and save lives of millions of people. One of the main site selection criteria is the magnitude of health impacts on humans especially on children.
SDPI research team visited 39 contaminated sites in Khyber Pakhtunkhawa (5 in/around 3 cities), Punjab (25 in/around 8 cities), Sindh (7 in/around 2 cities) and two in the outskirts of Islamabad. Most of the sites are contaminated due to industrial releases, medical wastes and the open burning of residues/wastes, on times 24 hours for days on. Among site assessment activities, the relevant stakeholders, including, medical personnel, industry representatives, officials of Ministry of Environment (MoE) & Federal and Provincial Environmental Protection Agencies (EPAs) were interviewed, besides the direct victims – the local residents. The sampling of different segments of environment including drinking water, wastewater and soil have also been carried out and an assessment report for each visited site has been prepared in light of the interviews with stakeholders and the levels of toxic pollutants in the collected samples as examined by the research laboratories.
Keeping in view, the scale of the problem assessed so far, government attention is needed for the remediation of the identified chemically contaminated sites. Furthermore, there is a need to create awareness among the relevant stakeholders about the potential risks of the polluted sites on public health and environment.