INDUSTRIALIZATION AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONFLICTS

HABIBULLAH MAGSI
(feedback@pgeconomist.com)

Aug 13 - 19, 20
12

INTRODUCTION

Industrialisation is no doubt a central pillar of the development of any economy. This study emphasises on the environmental conflicts associated with industrialization and there week governance system, which is taking an important place in the economic, social and environmental science literature. In fact, there are many flaws to the way of running the industrial management system. Even though we can currently do things much more efficiently than before, but the cost of this efficiency may seem inexpensive in many ways, however we do not realize that the cost of these new technologies do not just include money, time and labour, but it also costs us our well being as well as the beauty and comfort of our home and/or earth. This is also the fact that rapid industrial growth has made water pollution, air pollution, and hazardous wastes pressing environmental problems in many areas of the developing world. Industrial emissions combine with vehicle exhausts to cause air pollution, while concentrations of heavy metals and ammonia loads are often high enough to cause major fish kills down-river from industrial areas. The lack of hazardous waste facilities compounds the problem, with industrial wastes often discarded on fallow or public lands, in rivers, or in sewers designed to carry only municipal wastes.

SOME EXAMPLES FROM PAKISTAN

The relationships between industrial and environmental conflicts and policies in Pakistan, recommends policy measures that could optimize economic benefits from industrial development with reduced environmental conflicts. Although data is scarce, it is clear that industrial pollution is increasing rapidly and that the health and productivity impacts are significantly worsening. Pakistani industries are increasingly contributing to air and water pollution. Major industrial contributors to water pollution are the pulp and paper, chemicals, petrochemicals, refining, metalworking, food processing and textile industries; power generation for various industrial purposes and brick kilns are major sources of air pollution.

Industrial pollution is thought to be responsible for the health and environmental conflicts. Besides the air pollution, the other hazards related to industry are noise, vibrations, green house effect, radiation, chemicals, electromagnetic radiation and microbiological and social problems like stress and fatigue. Moreover, the chromium compounds are a typical cause of concern from dyes and tanneries and may lead to lung cancer and ulcers. Toxic and hazardous waste is mainly the by-product of the chemical and petrochemical dying industries, which are the eminent issues of the day in the country, because most of the industrial plants are inefficiently operated and maintained. Literature articulates that the waste management and preventing or abating pollution are two of the fourteen core program areas of the National Conservation Strategy (NCS) of Pakistan, approved in 1992. Pakistan Environmental Protection Act 1997 provides for the protection of the environment, pollution control and the promotion of sustainable development. Section 11 of this Act prohibits any discharge or emission into the environment with levels above the existing National Environmental Quality Standards (NEQS), where the sections 13 and 14 are dealing with hazardous wastes and hazardous substances, respectively.

A recent initiative to implement NEQS is a 'Self-Monitoring and Reporting/SMART" program for industry. The self-monitoring and reporting guidelines were developed through a long and exhaustive series of consultations and roundtable discussions among all stakeholders, including representatives from the government, industry, NGOs, civil society organizations, universities and research and development institutions. Under the self-monitoring and reporting program, industries in Pakistan are made responsible for systematically monitoring their environmental performance and periodically reporting the data to provincial Environmental Protection Agencies (EPAs). It is expected that entrepreneurs who are well aware of their social and legal responsibilities will respond adequately to this new system which does not involve any role for environmental (protection/control) inspectors. The self-monitoring and reporting system takes into account the interests and resources of both the EPAs and industry, which may save considerable time, efforts and money, of the EPAs, which further involves industry in evaluating environmental performance, leading to pollution-controls measures.

Under the new system, industries have been classified into categories A, B, and C: each corresponding to a specified reporting frequency. For liquid effluents, the recommended reporting frequency is monthly for category A; quarterly for category B and biannually for category C. For gaseous emissions, the recommended reporting frequency for categories A and B are monthly and quarterly, respectively. For most of the industries only 4 to 6 priority parameters have been proposed under normal plant operating conditions. To facilitate the self-monitoring and reporting program, the SMART tool has also been developed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of Pakistan with technical assistance from the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), which can be used by industrial units to generate reports of the emissions levels (environmental data) and send the same to EPAs for compilation and further analysis. A pilot-phase program for SMART demonstration and testing was successfully completed which was jointly organized and conducted by EPA and SDPI in collaboration with federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI).

Government, industry and NGOs worked together towards implementing the NEQS through a self-monitoring and reporting program and have gone a long way in developing and testing SMART through a pilot-phase program. This joint effort not only raised the level of environmental awareness but also developed an unprecedented momentum in the industrial sector to adopt measures towards minimizing waste and controlling industrial pollution. As a follow up, an Environment Improvement Program (EIP), to be linked with the self-monitoring and reporting/SMART program is also under consideration. It has two main objectives: first, to encourage maximum participation from industrial units to start self-monitoring and reporting to EPAs and second, to seek compliance with the NEQS by initially grading the environmental performance of industries into a colour coding system. The next step is to enter into pollution-reduction agreements with the Chambers of Commerce and Industries (CCIs), industrial associations and individuals, to reduce the pollution levels by 25 percent within the first year of launching the EIP and achieve a 75 percent reduction by the end of the 3rd year.

The success of the self-monitoring and reporting/SMART program so far has been due to collaboration and thorough and exhaustive consultation, both for the program development and program implementation with all the stakeholders from the very beginning. Stakeholders such as CCIs, Universities, R&D organizations, and NGOs exist all over the country and have the facilities and the trained personnel to contribute significantly towards this program. They can either provide training and analytical services or initiate activities contributing to awareness-raising. Continued and effective collaboration between policy makers, Universities, research and development organizations and industry would further ensure the success and sustainability of this program.

PROSPECTS

The future scale of environmental and health problems from industrialization in developing countries like Pakistan will depend greatly on policy actions taken today. For example few studies suggest that in Asia, for instance up-to 70 percent of the power-generating capacity and 90 percent of the cars in use in 2012 will be added in the next 12 years. If current production practices remain the norm, air pollution and toxic effluents from industrial production are likely to increase rapidly. If, choices are made to invest in more efficient and less-polluting technologies, many of industrialization's negative impacts on health could be avoided. The potential, the developing countries have to leap-frog to cleaner production is enormous, given gains in technology as well as the levels of private capital now flowing into these countries. In Indonesia, for instance, in the first half of 1997, petrochemicals represented almost one half of the US$16.2 billion in foreign investments. Decisions regarding the location sites of those industries, the technologies used and the type of precautions for occupational safety could have a tremendous impact on the environment and ultimately on the future health of the people who live and work there.

However, the general public doesn't seem to care much about this problem or is not yet aware of this issue. The federal as well as provincial governments in the country are not actively bothered to take actions against environmental degradation, and to take actions against the violators of the rules regarding the environmental protection. Here it is recommended some policies prospects for solutions to environmental protection and for sustainable and environmentally friendly socio-economic development. In this regard, it is imperative that each economic project (industries, firms or any business plan) must have a plan to take care of environmental treatment for damages they may have caused or they are going to cause; each business in operation must have a plan and followup procedure for waste and sewage treatment. To encourage scientific research on environmental protection and to enhance socialization of environmental protection tasks including solutions to the environmental protection that can be implemented by the people and social organizations. There must be general plans on environmental protection in all the economic zones throughout the country. Through those plans, the economic value of the environment should be calculated so that economic and technological projects can be the basis for economic measures towards environmental protection. A communication system should be set up to supervise information regarding environmental pollution and degradation. Since environmental protection is a global issue, is must be the responsibility of every economic unit (industry, firm, etc) in the country to unite for the betterment of human beings and the planet.

(The writer is a Lecturer at Sindh Agriculture University Tando Jam Pakistan, can be contacted at: habib.magsi@agroparistech.fr)