KARACHI - Sindh Caretaker Information and Environment Minister Jameel Yusuf has said that civic and environmental issues in Karachi have become compounded owing to poor performance by the relevant agencies of provincial and local governments over last several years.

He expressed these views during a meeting with delegation of National Forum for Environment & Health (NFEH) in his office on Wednesday.

“These civic and government agencies failed to implement the relevant municipal and environmental laws that led to the alarming increase in air pollution, unchecked vehicular emissions, and physical encroachments all over the city,” he added.

The provincial minister said that the concerned government authorities and non-governmental organisations should join forces to improve working of the agencies responsible to implement vital civic and environmental laws in the city.

He said that tree plantation should be done all over the city under a full-fledged campaign to promote tree cover in Karachi. He said that government, its relevant agencies, and concerned people should get their act together to remove physical encroachments existing in the city on a massive scale.

He said that caretaker Sindh government would soon convene a meeting of the concerned NGOs, civil society organizations, representative bodies of industries, and relevant govt and municipal agencies to adopt a collective strategy to tackle all these alarming civic and environmental issues persisting in Karachi.

He said that conducting a full-fledged plantation drive in Karachi was need of the hour. In this regard, the corporate sector and associations representing industrial estates in the city should take initiative to improve tree cover in their respective areas.

He said that Sindh Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) should also ensure strict implementation of the laws to reverse the alarming phenomenon of environmental deterioration.

He was of the viewpoint that the SEPA could play an active role in resolution of serious environmental issues persisting in the province.

On the occasion, NFEH President Naeem Qureshi greeted Yusuf on assuming the responsibilities as one of the key members of caretaker government set-up in the province. He briefed the provincial minister that the NFEH would launch its annual plantation drive in Karachi on 05 July, 2018 as efforts would be made to plant around 50,000 tree saplings all over the city with support of other like-minded NGOs and representative bodies of businessmen and industrialists.

Qureshi also briefed the caretaker Sindh minister about efforts and campaigns run by the NFEH to promote the cause of environmental protection in the city and to lessen damages caused due to air pollution.