LAHORE: Six schemes, estimated to cost Rs153 million, have been announced under the budget with the objective of reducing the pollution burden. The total budget announced for the environment sector is Rs185 million – a 270 per cent increase from the budget announced last year.
The Environment Protection Department (EPD), the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) and the Environment Protection Council (EPC) are expected to exercise regulatory control on environmental pollution and pave the path for sustainable development. They are expected to promote research and development on sustaining the environment and build the capacity of provincial departments to address environmental concerns.
Monitoring air pollution
The Environmental Protection Agency will procure and install compact ambient air quality monitoring stations in four cities of the Punjab at an estimated cost of Rs88 million. The stations will monitor ambient air environmental parameters according to the Punjab Environmental Quality Standards (EQS).
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The air monitoring stations will be installed in areas where there are coal-fired power plants and in Chakwal, where there is a cluster of cement factories.
Rs50 million has been set aside for capacity building of the EPA-Punjab. The idea is to improve the agency’s capacity to enforce environmental standards in the Punjab, including combined effluent treatment plants and industrial estates. Under the scheme, the EPA will establish an Environment Monitoring Resource Centre to provide expertise in environmental law and policy, and environmental reviews.
The laboratories will be equipped with devices to help the EPA monitor the environment according to environmental quality standard parameters.
Environment quality standards
There is an allocation of Rs10 million for rationalisation, revision and development of environmental quality standards and industry specific standards.
Under the initiative, terms of reference will be prepared for the selection of consultants for rationalisation, revision and development of EQS and industry specific standards.
Under the budget, Rs17 million has been allocated for establishing biodiversity parks across the province. The project will be effected by city governments and district governments in collaboration with the private sector.
Rs15 million has been allocated this year to assess the most feasible option to treat the Hudiara Drain effluent. The government had allocated Rs20,000 for this study last year.
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Environment-friendly brick kilns
The budget has an allocation of Rs5 million for the construction of a model vertical shaft brick kiln in collaboration with the Punjab Brick Kiln Association.
Under the project, 20 per cent shares of the kiln will go to a private partner and 80 per cent to the Environmental Protection Department and the Punjab Brick Kiln Association.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 14th, 2016.
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