Lahore—Punjab Minister for Environment Begum Zakia Shahnawaz has said that checking pollution can pave the way for alleviating poverty and that is the reason the government is taking environmental issues very seriously.
She was addressing a press conference on the issue of Punjab Environmental Quality Standards (PEQS) here on Friday.
The minister said that unchecked discharge of untreated waste water into waterways could be a cause of pollution for canals and rivers, which could result in increase in diseases.
The Environment Protection Department is collaborating with international development agency of Germany (GIZ) for development of industry-specific standards in the textile sector, she added.
The minister said that the Punjab Environmental Protection Agency Review of initial environmental examination and environmental impact assessment regulations, 2016 have been placed on the website of the Environmental Protection Agency Punjab for comments from all stakeholders.
These regulations now guide the consultants, who carry out environmental assessment of projects. Specifying minimum educational qualification of consultants would enhance the quality of environmental reviews, she added.
Environmental review fees, specified in the year 2000, is suggested to be revised.
Additionally, an annual renewal fee has also been recommended for all projects seeking environmental approval.
The annual fees have been recommended to cover the monitoring expenses of Environmental Protection Agency Punjab.
This is in accordance with the “Polluters Pay Principle” enshrined in the Punjab Environmental Protection Act 1997, she said.