The Ministry of Environment is all set to observe World Environment Day on June 5 by observing an emission-free hour. People will be discouraged from driving their vehicles from 12pm to 1pm that day and will instead be asked to take out their bicycles.
Federal Minister for Environment Hamidullah Jan Afridi briefed Chief Commissioner Islamabad, DG Environment CDA, media persons and other senior officials of the ministry on the initiative.
“This will be a first-of-its-kind exercise,” the minister said. Public awareness campaigns will be launched through print and electronic media, and school going children will participate in different workshops and campaigns.
The minister also pledged to take practical steps to curb pollution in the country, adding that the federal capital will be made a model city and industries will be shifted from residential areas. “We are duty bound to save our children from a polluted environment, which is increasing the incidence of cancer and other respiratory diseases,” Afridi added.
The minister was optimistic that support will be extended by the international community – especially United Nations, UK, USA and France. He also lauded the global community for acknowledging Pakistan’s world record in tree plantation campaign last year. Afridi, however, showed his annoyance over the “noncooperative attitude” of the city managers towards owners of brick kilns located near Benazir Shaheed Airport Islamabad, as well as failing to shift industries located in residential areas of Islamabad to Sector I-17.
Meanwhile Director General Environment CDA Sheikh Salman assured the minister that CDA was ready to back up the ministry’s initiative to make the city more clean and pollution free.
Published in the Express Tribune, June 1st, 2010.