Senate Standing Committee on Climate Change in its meeting on Tuesday has give approval for the Environmental Protection (Amendment) Bill, 2020 which was introduced by Senator Faisal Javed Khan after detailed discussion.

The meeting was held with Senator Sitara Ayaz in the chair here at the Parliament House on Tuesday and was attended among others by Senators Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Faisal Javed Khan, Muhammad Akram, Pervaiz Rasheed, Sana Jamali, Keshoo Bai, Minister for Climate Change Zartaj Gul Wazir, officials from the ministry and Environmental Protection Authority.

The Committee had been informed by the Director General EPA that the intended legislation is a much needed requirement for the Islamabad Capital Territory concerning the pursuit of programs seeking the prevention of littering problem but it comes under the jurisdiction of Municipal Corporation of Islamabad. He added that CDA and MCI already have a huge human resource to ensure sanitation of the city but they have failed to do the same.

The Committee was apprised that other pollutants like Sulphur Dioxide and Nitrogen Dioxide are also under control in the capital and comparatively less pollen allergy cases were reported this year. The Committee was also given details of the fauna of Margallah Hills National Park (MHNP).

The Committee members were of the view that this amendment is a good start to improve the environment of the capital and should be adopted. The Committee sought to assure the concerned authority that all such loopholes apart from capacity and resources related issues as well as those of overlapping jurisdiction will be deliberated upon on order to be discussed in the subsequent meetings by calling all relevant departments including CDA and MCI but that shouldn’t be the reason to stop carrying out legislation. Operational requirements and resources to implement the law are secondary questions and will come at later stages.

Islamabad Local Government Ordinance of 2015 has many provisions, preventive measures and penalties on littering and the MCI should be asked why they haven’t imposed fines on littering or done efforts to curtail it. EPA is not empowered to oversee littering and does not have resources to ensure implementation of the said amendment.