PESHAWAR - Participants at a seminar on ‘environmental impact assessment and KPK Environment Protection Act-2013’ (draft) have underlined the need for putting strategic environment assessment as mandatory part of the bill.They added that environment has become a provincial subject after the 18th constitutional amendment, and special reinforcement policies should be adopted to control over the growing pollution being created by local industries and other culprits. The seminar was arranged by Department of Environmental Sciences University of Peshawar in collaboration with International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and provincial Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Vice Chancellor University of Peshawar Prof. Dr. Muhammad Rasul Jan was the chief guest of the inaugural session. Director EPA Dr. Bashir and Chairperson Environmental Sciences Department Prof. Dr. Shahid Zakir were also present on the occasion.“The mushroom growth of housing societies on agricultural lands is one of the fatal environmental issues and less streamlined according to the global environmental requirements. The problem can aggravate to uncontrollable proportions in the near future, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,” said Vice Chancellor Prof. Dr. Muhammad Rasul Jan in his address. He added that the same problem would lead to issue of food security in the years to come. Lack of proper environmental impact assessment has led to a bleak picture of our surroundings, and that is why most of the time development projects are more hazardous than beneficial for the local population, he said.Prof. Dr. Shahid Zakir said that Environmental Sciences has not been recommended as a specialized subject in the colleges and Universities of the country. This problem if not addressed on time would create job problems for the environmental sciences graduates.Director EPA Dr. Bashir said that implementation of safe environmental practices and regulation of hazardous materials, is his organizations main responsibilities. He added that the environmental tribunal has prosecuted six hundred and fifty violators up till now. The Director went on to state that the Environmental Protection Act-2013, can be a strong legal binding law and will regulate environmental problem.

This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 14-Mar-2013 here.