World Environment Day observed in AJK

Altaf Hamid Rao:

MIRPUR (AJK): Azad Jammu Kashmir observed the World Environment day for encouraging awareness and action for the protection of our environment. As each year the World Environment Day is organized around a specific theme, the theme for 2018 was “Beat Plastic Pollution“.

The day was marked with series of major ceremonies hosted Environmental Protection Agency of Azad Jammu Kashmir government including the inaugural session of the newly-formed Environmental Protection Council of AJK held with its head – the Prime Minister of AJK Raja Farooq Haider Khan in the chair at the Prime Minister secretariat in AJK’s metropolis on Monday. Besides official and non-official members of the EPC, the meeting was attended by senior officials of various stake holder government functionaries.

Addressing the meeting Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider Khan emphasized the need of girding lions to successfully encounter the challenges of climate changes. He also emphasized the need of lending all due resources to wipe out all sorts of pollution from various sectors of life in the state.

Haider underlined that the exercise of launching projects harmful to the climate changes including those leading to the diversion of natural routes of waters shall have to be abandoned. He strongly suggested that such project mostly the hydro power projects should be constructed on the run-of-rivers without resorting to any sort of harm to the natural climate as detrimental to the environment as well, he urged.

The Prime Minister said that we shall have to focus for generating maximum of power through hydropower projects to overcome the energy cries without harming the forests and natural water routes. He also called for remaining alert and vigilant besides performing due national responsibilities to overcome the water shortage – which the country is feared to face in the future.

Unveiling the salient feature of the day-long hectic programs to observe the Universal Environment Day, ACS (Dev) and Secretary Environmental Protection Agency AJK Dr. Syed Asif Ali Sha and Director General Environmental Protection Agency of Azad Jammu Kashmir government Raja Muhammad Razaq said ‘’ in fact it is the Peoples Day for pledging actions to take care of the earth.

The ACS (Dev) Dr. Syed Asif Ali Shah said that since the World Environment Day is commemorated on June 5 every year, “Beat Plastic Pollution” is a call – this year – to action for all of us to come together to combat one of the great environmental challenges of our time. “The theme invites us all to consider how we can make changes in our everyday lives to reduce the heavy burden of plastic pollution on our natural places, our wildlife – and our own health. While plastic has many valuable uses, we have become over-reliant on single-use or disposable plastic – with severe environmental consequences”,

In his detailed input through the multimedia – besides detailed speech, Director General Environmental Protection Agency of AJK Raja Muhammad Razaq said while referring to the significance of the World Environment Day, that was first celebrated in 1974 has helped United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to raise awareness and generate political momentum around growing concerns such as the depletion of the ozone layer, toxic chemicals, desertification and global warming. The Day has developed into a global platform for taking action on urgent environmental issues. Millions of people have taken part over the years, helping drive change in our consumption habits, as well as in national and international environmental policy.

“The theme for 2018 Global Environmental Day is ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’. It is a call for a vulnerable nation to join hands and combat one of the great environmental challenges”, Razaq said.

“The observance of the activity world-wide encourages and raise awareness among the masses and other stake holders for their due individual and collective role for ensuring the totally pollution-free environment through their due actions”, he said.

Raja Razaq said that his organization – the EPA AJK has devised a comprehensive plan ranging from general awareness to focusing on dimensions of Sustainable Development, Environmental Degradation and its safeguards with special emphasis on the above theme for World Environment Day this year.

It may be added that since the World Environment Day has a different global host country with a focus on the significance of the Day, the organizers had compiled a list of grant opportunities on Environment Conservation.

Meanwhile, Director General EPA Raja Razaq presented an overview of EPA. The meeting granted approval of Environmental Quality Standards (EQSs) related to Drinking Water, Ambient Ai, Motor Vehicle Exhaust, Noise, Industrial Gaseous Emissions, Municipal & Industrial Liquid Effluents. The meeting also discussed and reviewed the notification regarding withdrawal of Notification for declaration of ‘Kamsar’ as Environmentally Sensitive Location.

The high level Environmental Protection Council meeting also issued necessary directives to various Govt. Departments/Agencies including Local Govt./MCs/TC, Health, Forests, Electricity, Public Health Engineering, Local government and Rural Desvelopment, EPA , ditrict asministrations and CEW. for Efficient Management of Solid Waste at District Head Quarters’ Level, Safe management of Hospital Waste. Reducing Forest Degradation and Enhancing the scale of Reforestation. Integrated Watershed Management, Adopting/Encouraging Energy Conservation Measures in Govt. Offices Initiating Water Quality Improvement and Conservation Derive, Initiating Water Quality Improvement and Conservation Derive, Effective enforcement of ban on Non-degradable plastic products in AJK. Adopting strict slide control measures during road construction and improvement projects .

Official and non official members of the Environmental Protection Council including the Country Representative International Union for Conservation of Nature-Pakistan Muhammad Akhtar Cheema, Qamar uz Zamn, former Director General Pakistan Metrological Department, Altaf Hamid Rao, President AJK Environmental Journalist Forum, Raja Arslan Nusrat, CEO Global UK-Based NGO Muslim Hands in AJK, seasoned Kashmiri industrial and ex President AJK CCI Sohabi Saeed, Ch. Murtaza President MCCI, Senior AJK EPA officers including Div. Director Mirpur Sardar Idrees Mahmood, Secretaries and heads of various related government departments also attended the meeting.

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