ISLAMABAD - Dangerous chemicals are the biggest factor behind pollution, therefore, a pragmatic approach and more active role of all key stakeholders is need of the hour in Pakistan to protect human health and general environment from harmful effects of this perilous substance. These views were expressed by the Federal Minister for Environment Hameedullah Jan Afridi on Tuesday at 'National Chemicals Forum held to shape the status of chemical usage in Pakistan. It was organised by the National MEAs Secretariat and Ministry of Environment. Experts and researchers of the Ministry of Environment, relevant departments, provincial governments, educational institutions and civil society participated in this forum. Speaking on the occasion, the Federal Minister said that a number of chemicals played a pivotal role for betterment of the common people. He continued that it was vital to take utmost care while using certain chemicals, as they could produce toxic effects, which were harmful for both living and non-living things. These chemicals have changed the course of the human history and acted as catalyst in improving the living standard of the human race, he added. The Minister for Environment also said that many development endeavours of the humanity had unfortunately proved to be unwise and non-sustainable. Production and use of chemicals is a glaring example, he noted. Afridi further said that global peril of hazardous chemicals had hit humanity in various forms like climate change, acid rains, cancer, endocrine and nervous system disruptions. The Minister said that Pakistan backed global efforts to combat terrorism as well as environmental degradation. Under these circumstances, the Minister maintained, Pakistan expects strong support from global as well as local actors. He said that the encouraging sign was that not only experts but younger generation also was taking keen interest in its surroundings and the new generation was determined to reverse the current pace of environmental decline. He hoped that though intelligent and efficient and effective deliberations this opportunity could be turned into a milestone for understanding these complex issues related to chemicals management. Afridi said that the Government of Pakistan had taken concrete steps for protection of the environment and implementation of the chemical related international environmental instruments. He said that the Ministry of Environment had, therefore, brought all the conventions under one roof of the National Multilateral Environmental Agreements Secretariat in International Cooperation Wing. Earlier, Secretary Ministry of the Environment, Muhammad Javed Malik lauded the initiatives taken by the MEAs Secretariat for making efforts to catch the bull by horns and taking initiates to develop an integrated approach for the chemicals management. Joint Secretary IC Wing of the National Focal Points SAICM, Abid Ali hoped that outcome of this Forum would help in combating the global menace of chemical hazards. S Zaheer Ahmed Gilani highlighted the objectives of the National Chemicals Forum and overviewed the SAICM process in Pakistan. Later on, Abid Ali presented shields to the Federal Minister and the Secretary. The Federal Minister for Environment also gave shield to the Abid Ali on this occasion.