This refers to news, ‘NA Body Decides to Recommend Ban on Asbestos,’ published recently. We support the proposed recommendation, a complete ban on the import and use of dangerous chemical ‘Asbestos’ in 22 industries of the country, to safeguard the environment and the health of public in general and of workers in particular.
However, it is important that in consultation with the relevant asbestos based industries, an appropriate time period should be worked out and allowed or exempted (with full health and safety assurance of the workers) prior to the enforcement of the proposed ban in letter and spirit, so that our industry adjusts itself to the change.
As we are aware, a legally binding global treaty is also to be concluded next week in Geneva, on the phasing of the ban on the use of another hazardous chemical, Mercury, and our Government (a member of the international negotiating committee, INC) needs to ensure an appropriate exemption period, prior to the implementation of this multilateral environmental agreement (MEA) on Mercury’s use phase out, for our industry to adjust to the forthcoming change.
After all, whereas on one hand, we very keenly desire and fully accept the need for our industry to turn into ‘Green Industry,’ we also must ensure that further development and progress of our economy is not affected.
DR MAHMOOD A. KHWAJA,
Islamabad, January 3.