QUETTA - Air pollution in Quetta has been emerging as a serious environmental issue for human health which is caused due to certain man-made and natural factors.

The increase in air pollution level of Quetta was gradually moving towards an alarming situation and the health of entire population of City and surrounding areas is at stake.

These disclosure were made by speakers during a dissemination workshop which was organised by IUCN Balochistan programme on the developed ‘Emission Reduction Plan and Improvement of Air Quality Quetta’ at a local hotel here on Tuesday.

The workshop was attended by number of government officials, civil society organisations and relevant stakeholders.

The workshop was also attended by the DG EPA Balochistan, Chief Economist P&D, Director Industries and Officers of Quetta Metropolitan Corporation.

The main object of the workshop was to suggest practical steps, ideas and recommendations for devising and developing an implementation mechanism for the plan.

Mehboob Ali Environmental Governance Officer (BPSD) briefed the participants that International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has undertaken the assignment of formulating an ‘Action Plan for Reducing Air Pollution and Improving Air Quality Management in Quetta City’ through its Balochistan Partnership for Sustainable Development (BPSD).

The BPSD is a six-year project funded by the Embassy of Netherlands with core focus on promotion of sound environmental governance at all level.

He said that IUCN has developed an action plan to reduce air pollution in Quetta which was envisioned to be a model to be replicated in the rest of the province and in the country as well.

Zabardast Khan Bangash in his presentation explained that IUCN Pakistan under its six year (BPSD) ‘Balochistan Partnerships for Sustainable Development’ programme focused Quetta as urban district and trying its best to tackle the complex environmental issues being faced by the dwellers of this City.

Talking about the Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities (CAI-Asia), he explained that it was a regional organisation working towards clean air and liveable cities in Asia, had been contracted by IUCN to assist in the development of the said action plan. He said that the main objective of the action plan was to assist policy and decision-makers in addressing the issue of air pollution in the City of Quetta by providing concrete steps and measures to take towards better air quality.

Describing the state of air pollution in Quetta, Bangash said that pollution had been emerging and serious environmental issue for human health in Balochistan in general, and Quetta in particular, which was caused due to certain man-made and natural factors.

After the detailed presentation on plan an extensive question and answer session took place and certain questions were raised regarding implementation and financing of the plan.

The stakeholders expressed the need to focus on reducing the emissions from the transport sector in the City as there is a rapid growth in private vehicular activity, the use of sub-standard fuels and poorly maintained vehicles.

Shahid Pervaiz Chief Economist Planning and Development Department Government of Balochistan in his concluding remarks appreciated the work of IUCN especially the framing of plan for reducing the emission and improving the quality in City. He said that now the all relevant stakeholders had in hand a document which was developed with the generosity of an esteemed organisation like IUCN, but for all of us the second step would be to ensure the implementation of plan.

He pledged that Planning and Development Department and Finance Department would facilitate the main stakeholders like BEPA and QMC if they come up with the proposal. 

He emphasised on social behavior change and change of mind set at all levels.