On World Ozone Day, the message of the Special Assistant to the PM on climate change, Malik Amin Aslam, of Pakistan cutting the import of Ozone-depleting chemicals by 50 percent reflects Pakistan’s commitment and invaluable contribution to fighting climate change.

Pakistan’s surpassing its pledged target under the Montreal Protocol (MP), reducing the import of HCFC and significantly containing other environmentally hazardous substances is a milestone worth celebrating. HCFCs, the chemicals used in refrigeration, are the most toxic gases that damage the ozone layer. They are more potent greenhouse gases than carbon dioxide. There is nearly a unanimous consensus among all scientists and environmentalists that curbing these greenhouse gases is the key to tackle the climate crisis. Pakistan’s successful reduction of import of all hazardous substances is not an end in itself, however.

The incumbent government is well aware of the fact that implementing one or two international obligations cannot fight climate change. Apart from reducing the import of toxic industrial products, the authorities and climate ministry must also come up with new solutions for better management and disposal of the fluorinated gases that are used as refrigerants. We must also look to find their benign replacements.

Indeed, our attempts to move towards more sustainable development show our commitment to preserve the environment. But we are still somewhere in the middle with our work to align our policies and practices according to the international requirements regarding environment protection. We need to ensure that the billion tree projects, shifting to renewable energies and making transportation greener are not left midway. Taking these initiatives to their logical conclusion and launching more environment-friendly projects must be prioritised.