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No carbon-emission monitoring in ICT for 7 years, NA told

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Published: May 30, 2016 04:13 pm

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ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency (Pak-EPA) is not monitoring carbon emission in the federal capital, it was revealed before the National Assembly during its last session. Despite grave warnings of Islamabad’s vulnerability to climate change catastrophes, the government has not been able to restart carbon emission testing since its suspension in 2009.

Replying to a question asked by Nafeesa Khattak of PTI, the ministry of Climate Changed informed the Assembly that a joint report of Capital Development Authority (CDA) and UN Habitat revealed last year that Islamabad and its surroundings were exposed to a host of factors accelerating climate change impacts. The report had recommended to study the carbon sequestering in Margalla Hills National Park.

In response to a separate question asked by Munaza Hassan about carbon emission levels in the capital city, the ministry stated that carbon emission was not covered in National Environmental Quality Standards (NEQS) notified under Section 11 of Pakistan Environmental Protection Act, 1997and thus was not being monitored.

However, the ministry said that Pak-EPA in collaboration with Islamabad traffic police used to check vehicular emission on daily basis. However, this activity got suspended since 2009 due to non-availability of field staff. Keeping in view the significance of the activity efforts are being made to restart vehicular emission testing on daily basis which would be subject to availability of funds and human resources.

Furthermore, it was informed that besides phasing out lead and Sulphur from gasoline and diesel respectively, the conversion to CNG and adoption of Euro-II emission standards for vehicles were major steps taken to reduce carbon emission.

Giving details about the climate change challenged faced by Islamabad, the ministry said CDA with the help of UN Habitat, has undertaken a study “Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment of Islamabad” which was launched on World Environment Day (5th June) of 2015. According to the study, the Islamabad Capital Territory would have to face erratic behavior and marked changes in the intensity, frequency and variability of temperature, precipitation, floods, droughts, cyclones in coming years. The extreme weather events recorded so far in Islamabad include highest maximum temperature of 46.6° C on 24th June, 2005 and lowest at – 4.3° C on 25th December, 1984. In 2001 heaviest rainfall of 621 mm was recorded in 10 hours.

The main findings of the assessment revealed startling facts regarding erratic behavior and marked changes in the intensity, frequency and variability of temperature, precipitation, floods, draughts, cyclones etc. The study proposed well thought out planning interventions to make Islamabad a climate resilient city.

The study also makes recommendations of utilizing the present institutional arrangements for a well-coordinated effective implementation of suggested plans in Islamabad. The report suggested to immediately putting in place solid and water waste management mechanisms in urban and rural areas of ICT. It further recommended employing bio-engineering for recycling of grey water for enhancing climate change resilience in urban areas and use rainwater for harvesting and ecosystem management.

The report emphasized on certification and registration of real-estate developers and enforcement of building codes, reducing pollution from brick kilns and develop infrastructure for flood protection.

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