Regulating the environment
A lot of work will have to be done to regulate the
national environmental issues
By Syed Farooq Ali
June 04 - 10, 2001
Environmental awareness is now global with almost every
nation framing legislation to regulate its environmental issues. Pakistan
Environmental protection ordinance was first issued in 1983 (xxxvii of 1983).
This ordinance was however considered inadequate particularly with reference to
industrial waste, hence it was replaced in 1997 by a better piece of
legislation. The name however remained unchanged.
The 1997 ordinance is comprehensive with precise definition
of various terms and includes a number of section intended to regulate the long
pending national environmental scenario. In December 1997 National Assembly
unanimously passed the Pakistan Environmental Protection Bill 1997 and paved the
way for Pakistan environmental protection Act 1997. Salient features of this Act
are as under .
A- Establishment of Pakistan environmental protection
council (PEPC) to be headed by the prime minister and all the four provincial
chief ministers as members, the council to act as the supreme regulatory body
for policy and planning of the National Environmental issues.
B- This Act also laid down the regulations for the management of
provincial sustainable development funds.
C- If introduces a system of Initial Environmental Examination (IEE) and
environmental impact assessment (EIA) in respect of new projects and extensions.
D- The Act also paved way for regulatory agency called Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA), these agencies will be formed both ot central and
provincial levels, and will have the burden of all functional activities and
responsibility for the implementation of the Environmental Act.
Prior to this Act the Government had already notified in 1993
the much-awaited National Environmental Quality Standards ( NEQS), with this the
compilation of a list of 48 NEQS was made public, the regulation. Also specified
the limits of effluents allowable to the industry surprisingly the EP Act has
not yet addressed the issue of solid waste management, its handling and
disposal, solid waste management is a growing environmental threat in urban
settlements of today for which work has to be initiated urgently. Subsequent to
the release of NEQS the Govt. Set' 1996 as the date for its enforcement on the
industry, however this matter is still un-resolved with Govt. and Industry not
agreeing on the modus operandi of the regulatory system. It will be of interest
to have a look on the 48 traits of our NEQ's formulated in 1993, which are as
2- PH Value
3- Biochemical Oxygen demand (BOD)
4- Chemical Oxygen demand (COD)
5- Total Suspended Solids
6- Total Dissolved Solids
7- Grease and Oil
8- Phenolic compounds
12- An-ionic detergents
16- Pesticides, Herbicides, Fungicides and insecticides
21- Mercury22- Selenium
25- Total Toxic metals
Following are the Standards for Gases.
2- Particulate matter
3- Hydrogen chloride
5- Hydrogen Fluoride
6- Hydrogen Sulfide
7- Sulphur Oxide
8- Carbon Monoxide
16- Oxide of Nitrogen
Self Monitoring & Reporting Categories
Frequency of Report
Industrial chemicals Oil & Gas, Petro chemicals
Fruit Vegetable process Glean Mfg. Sugar, Detergent
Photographic, Glue Mfg. Oil & Gas exploration, Thermal Power
Vegetable oil & Ghee, Woollen Mills, Plastic, Wood & Cork.
Formulation, Marble Crushing, Cement etc.
Important Industries not Categorized in above includes Food
& Beverages, Hospitals, Basic Drugs & Herbal Drugs plant Iron &
Steel, Mechanical Engineering, Textile, Garments, Electrical parts, Tobacco
& Cigarette and Tanneries.
In addition to above the notified list of NEQS also contains
a short schedule for motor vehicles exhaust and noise out of various bodies
formed under the act undoubtedly. EPA has the biggest responsibility and an
uphill task to perform, we are far from the compliance of this act as a lot of
ground work has to be done for which a realistic and dependable database will
have to be established first . It is now EPA's job to train, develop and
convince the Industrial Managers and to make them environmental friendly. As a
first step the Pakistan environmental protection council (PEPC) has approved
guidelines for the phase wise implementation of a self monitoring and reporting
system for the industry. These guidelines were approved in August' 99 are very
comprehensive and practical and contains the details of working procedures such
as sampling, transport, storage and preservation of the samples of Gaseous and
Liquid effluents, the gudelines further categorized the industry into 3 groups
depending on intensity and severity of the effluent discharge into the
environment. Table II further elaborate the categorization system of the
Another important term introduced by working of EPA with the
industry was pollution charge which sets the quantitative limits of the
effluents of all kinds on per year basis the pollution charge limit when
exceeded and detected will provide an empirical evidence to EPA authorities for
punitive action under the law.
The law also provides for formation of Tribunals and
appointment of Magistrates to try the persons for violation of the act &
Environmental Regulations are still in infancy with regards
to their implementation and a lot of work will have to be done to regulate the
national environmental issues.