New environmental council approves last year`s SEQS
KARACHI: The Sindh government finally fulfilled a mandatory requirement under the Sindh Environmental Protection Act 2014 when it held the first-ever meeting of the Sindh Environmental Protection Council on Tuesday.
The meeting chaired by Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Coastal Development Mohammed Ali Malkani approved the Sindh Environmental Quality Standards (SEQS)notihed last year.
It is important to mention here that the provision of setting up an environmental council had been a legal requirement since 1997 when the Pakistan Environmental Protection Act was formulated. In 2014, Sindh came up with its own environmental law, which also required establishment of the council.
The council, a policy making and supervisory body under Section three of the law, has wide ranging powers. The council`s absence, according to experts, had been a legallacuna, often used by industries to get stay order and prevent action against them. The environmental law, they pointed out, also called for setting up advisory bodies for each sector, which were still pending.
The Tuesday`s meeting was attended by secretary of environment, climate change and coastal development department/director general Sindh EPA Bagaullah Unnar, secretary of irrigation Syed Jamal Mustafa, secre-tary of industries Abdul Raheem, commissioner of Sukkur Division Dr Mohammed Usman Chachar and other ex-officio members, representative of Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry, SIT E Association, Korangi Association of Trade and Industry, non-governmental organisations, members of academia and technical experts.
The council approved the SEQS notified earlier vide Gazette Notification No. EPA/TECH/739/2014 dated Jan 28, 2016.
The council chairman also formed a sub-committee to review the SEQS and propose necessary amendments within a period of one month.
The sub-committee will be chaired by secretary of environment, climate change & coastal development department and will comprise 11 members: Gulzar Feroze of FPCCI, representatives of KCCI, SITE association, KATI, Hyderabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ghulam Murtaza representing Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources, environmental expert Shahid Lutfi, Prof Rasool Bux Mahar of Mehran University of Engineering & Technology, Jamshoro, Prof Shabbar Ali of NED University, additional director general of Sepa Waqar Hussain Phulpoto and director regional office Sepa Ashique Ali Langah.
Mr Malkani directed Sepa to prepare a draft on council`s rules and procedures within 30 days for review of the council members.