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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 follows.

1- Temperature
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
9- Chloride
10- Fluoride
11- Cyanide
12- An-ionic detergents
13- Sulfates
14- Sulfide
15- Ammonia
16- Pesticides, Herbicides, Fungicides and insecticides
17- Cadmium
18- Chromium
19- Copper
20- Lead
21- Mercury22- Selenium
23- Nickel
24- Silver
25- Total Toxic metals
26- Zinc
27- Arsenic
28- Barium
29- Iron
30- Manganese
31- Boron
32- Chlorine

Following are the Standards for Gases.

1- Smoke
2- Particulate matter
3- Hydrogen chloride
4- Chlorine
5- Hydrogen Fluoride
6- Hydrogen Sulfide
7- Sulphur Oxide
8- Carbon Monoxide
9- Liquid
10- Mercury
11- Cadmium
12- Arsenic
13- Copper
14- Antimony
15- Zinc
16- Oxide of Nitrogen

Self Monitoring & Reporting Categories

S. No.


Frequency of Report

Industry Type




Printing, Industrial chemicals Oil & Gas, Petro chemicals




Dairy, Fruit Vegetable process Glean Mfg. Sugar, Detergent Photographic, Glue Mfg. Oil & Gas exploration, Thermal Power Vegetable oil & Ghee, Woollen Mills, Plastic, Wood & Cork.



Six Monthly

Pharmaceutical 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 Industry.

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 & rules.

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.