Housing societies violating environmental laws: Zartaj

ISLAMABAD, Dec 27 (APP):Minister of State for Climate Change Zartaj Gul Friday said the Ministry of Climate Change (MoCC) would take to task the housing societies violating environmental laws and green belts in the federal capital.

Most of the housing societies, although approved in Islamabad were using green belts as commercial plots, she said in an exclusive talk with APP. She said the Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was actively holding public hearings of all development projects and housing societies in that regard.

However, the ministry would further strengthen and empower EPA to take stringent action against the violators. “EPA is doing a commendable job within its limited workforce and resources whereas the ministry is also taking it seriously to scale up the EPA’s structure for better environment conservation and monitoring.”

Zartaj observed some housing societies were using parks and green belt areas for commercial purpose, which were meant for plantation. The societies had got no objection certificate (NOC) by declaring those areas as parks and green belts in their environmental impact assessment reports presented to EPA for approval of their projects.

She said the NOC of approved housing societies’ would be cancelled if found violating the law. Prime Minister Imran Khan, she said had removed the cap for construction of highrise buildings in the federal capital that would help promote vertical skyscrapers and save the green land from destruction by the horizontal housing projects.

Zartaj said Pakistan was signatory to the UN Minamata Convention on Mercury to curb the use of this element causing cancer and other serious health complications.

The ministry had conducted a survey of all beauty products, including skin fairness creams and cosmetics that were found highly mercury toxic with beyond permissible limits in their formulas.
It was also being used excessively as dental amalgam for cavity fillings which was severely injurious to health, she added.

Zartaj said the MoCC had geared up to phase out excessive use of mercury in various cosmetics and beauty products and prepared a legislation. The Ministry of National Health Services comments were awaited, which would be sent for the President of Pakistan’s ratification.

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