Islamabad: Minister of State for Climate Change Zartaj Gul Wazir said on Thursday that the government is committed to protecting the health and environment of the people from the devastating effects of chemicals and hazardous waste through their scientific management.
“The inappropriate and unscientific management of hazardous waste over the years in the country and their collection, treatment and disposal of waste has caused significant damage to human health and the environment. But, now in light of the PM Imran Khan’s vision for a clean and green Pakistan, we have launched efforts for the implementation of a comprehensive project to strengthen national capacities to manage chemical and hazardous waste in a manner that meets global guidelines to regulate the practice of hazardous waste management for the protection of people and the environment of the country, ”the minister said at a national event here.
The event was entitled “National Kick-off Workshop on Strengthening National Legislation and Capacity Building of Stakeholders for Sound Management of Chemicals and Hazardous Wastes in Pakistan”. It aimed to sensitize all relevant stakeholders from national and international governmental and non-governmental organizations and industrial and educational sectors on the importance of the project.
The minister said hazardous waste could take the form of solids, liquids, sludge or contained gases, and was mainly generated through the production of chemicals, manufacturing and other industrial activities. She stated that such wastes could cause damage during improper storage, transport, treatment or disposal.
“We [government] Understand that improper storage or disposal of hazardous wastes frequently contaminates surface water and groundwater as harmful water pollution and can also be a source of dangerous land pollution. The minister said people housed in houses built around old and abandoned waste disposal sites could be in a very vulnerable position.
Climate Change Secretary Sikander Qayyum told participants that the ministry, together with the United Nations for the environment, is implementing the project which aims to effectively implement international conventions, including those of Basel, Rotterdam , Stockholm and Minamata, for the management of chemicals harmful to the environment and hazardous materials in a scientific framework. path.
He said the Minamata Convention on Mercury is a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury. The Basel Convention controls the transboundary movements of hazardous wastes and their disposal. Likewise, the Stockholm Convention reduces and eliminates Persistent Organic Pollutants.
He said that one of the main issues raised by the EU with Pakistan was the formulation of policy and regulation on hazardous waste management. “As a responsible party to the Basel Convention, Pakistan will formulate the required policy for the management of hazardous waste by March 2022,” he said.
Syed Mujtaba Hussain, Joint Senior Secretary (International Cooperation), Ministry of Climate Change, said: “Hazardous chemicals and waste pose a potential threat to human health and the environment in many ways. These chemicals and hazardous wastes are mostly non-degradable, persistent in nature, can be biologically amplified, are highly toxic and even harmful in very low concentrations.
He stressed the need to pool all intellectual and technical resources to meet the challenge.
Dr Zaigham Abbas, Deputy Director (Chemistry) at the Ministry of Climate Change, said a specialized directorate would be established within the ministry with the help of this project to implement all relevant provisions of the Basel, Stockholm conventions , Rotterdam and Minamata in Pakistan. He said the ministry was working closely with industry and other relevant institutions in the country to get rid of chemicals and hazardous waste.
Expert Dr. Mahmood A. Khwaja spoke on the environmentally sound management of contaminated sites in Pakistan and shared SDPI’s detailed research on the issue.
He said the SDPI had collected data on 38 contaminated sites in Pakistan’s 3 provinces. He also shared the remediation efforts of a DDT-contaminated site in Nowshehra, KPK and its recommendations for the rational and peaceful disposal of nuclear wastewater.
It recommended the active participation of all stakeholders and the search for ways and means for timely support and ongoing coordination among stakeholders, including relevant ministries and their departments, in order to accelerate policy development. and their effective implementation.