KARACHI - National workshop on inventory of initial and new Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) was organised by Ministry of Climate Change in collaboration with United Nations Environment Programme here at a local hotel on Thursday.

Objective of the workshop was to review the National Implementation Plan (NIP) to make Pakistan POPs free.

On this occasion, Muhammad Mureed Rahimoon, Deputy Secretary (International Cooperation), Ministry of Climate Change stressed the linkages between universities, academia and government institutions for the elimination of POPs.

He said, “We have to make strong linkages between academia, industry and government institutions, as it takes a pro-active stance in putting knowledge to use and in creating new knowledge for the removal of POPs.”

Dr Zaigham Abbas, Deputy Director (Chemical)/In-charge-National Coordination Unit, Ministry of Climate Change, Dr Mahmood A Khwaja, Senior Adviser SDPI, Syed Muhammad Yahya, Additional Director General, Sindh Environmental Protection Agency, Dr Khaula Shirin, Director General PCSIR Labs Karachi, Dr Nuzhat Khan, Principal Scientific Officer, National Institute of Oceanography, Karachi, Dr Imran Hussain, Consultant for PCBs, Usman Manzoor, Programme Officer UNDP, Mehreen Iqbal, Consultant for UPOPs and Dr Jabir H Syed, Consultant for PFOS, HBCD and PBDEs, and Engineer Muhammad Khan, Regional Director Balochistan EPA presented their experiences for the elimination of POPs from the country.

Dr Zaigham Abbas, while describing the objectives of the workshop, said that, “Pakistan has to meet its targets till September 2018 to update National Implementation Plan and inventory of new POPS.

“For that purpose Ministry of Climate Change is working day and night for updating inventory of old POPs and making inventory of new ones. He also highlighted the importance of health and safety standards for POPs, and urged the stakeholders to make and follow international standards accordingly.

Syed Muhammad Yahya, Additional Director General Sindh EPA, appreciated the role of Ministry of Climate Change and UNDP to establish disposal facility at Bestway Cement near Kallar Kahar, district Chakwal.

He urged to replicate same facilities at different locations which will ultimately help reduce and eliminate POPs.

Dr Mahmood A Khawaja, Senior Adviser on Chemicals & Waste, SDPI, said that, the group of chemicals known as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) is one of the original twelve POPs covered by the Stockholm Convention.

 “They possess properties including longevity, heat absorbance and form an oily liquid at room temperature which is commonly used in old transformers and is harmful for human, wildlife and environment.”

He stressed the need for increasing inter-ministerial collaboration for enhanced cooperation for the elimination of POPs because it is a matter of different ministries.

Dr Khaula Shirin, Director General PCSIR Labs Karachi, said, “PCSIR has already monitoring POPs and research activity is already going on. Services of PCSIR are available for researchers and other organisations for the testing of old and new POPs”.

Usman Manzoor, Program Office UNDP, said that UNDP was working on curriculum development for the capacity building of human resource for POPs awareness. “UNDP is also working on safety standardization for transportation and waste disposal of obsolete POPs,” he added.

POPs have been widely used in various industrial processes, products and pesticides. “It has been recently discovered that POPs are extremely harmful for human, wildlife health and environment,” he elaborated.

The project titled “Review and update of NIP for POPs in Pakistan” is funded by GEF and is executed by UNEP. A large number of stakeholders from industry, NGOs, INGOs, Academia, members from Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and government organizations participated in this workshop.