Environmental commission also calls for holistic mass transit plan for capital
ISLAMABAD: An environmental commission has called for better inter-agency coordination to address the adverse impact of environmental degradation caused by climate change.
The environmental commission, constituted by Islamabad High Court Justice Athar Minallah, has said in a report submitted to the court that environmental agencies and provincial governments should co-ordinate to preserve the Margalla Hills National Park area from further degradation.
The commission said taking such steps would protect the environment in the short term while positively affecting the country’s climate in the long term.
The commission said provincial environmental management agencies should coordinate for better and uniform implementation of provisions of their respective environmental protection laws.
The commission has also proposed a holistic mass transit plan for Islamabad to cater to the needs of an increasing number of commuters.
“The solution does not lie in expanding roads at the cost of green belts and parks, as is being done by making the signal-free Islamabad Expressway,” it said, adding that the capacity of CDA urban planners, architects, landscape specialists, horticulturists and environment experts needed to be strengthened.
“It is popularly believed that the CDA consists primarily of bureaucrats with little or no expertise in urban development and environment. Members and director-general environment, along with other key technical positions, should be manned by qualified and experienced environmentalists,” the report said.
The commissions termed mass environmental awareness campaigns as critical to the support of the recommendations of the commission and said that the role of media was important in educating the citizens and achieving the objectives of protecting the environment.
The commission underlined that under the law, all TV stations are supposed to use 10 per cent of their airtime for public education, and environmental awareness and protection could be promoted through this.
The report said that under the Islamabad Capital Territory Local Government Act, 2015, a local government was to be formed to administer and govern the federal capital.
It said that some of the functions of the soon-to-be-formed local government will include maintenance of rural water supply schemes, executing development works, approving development schemes for beautification of urban areas and developing integrated system of water reservoirs, water sources, treatment plants, drainage, liquid and solid waste disposal, sanitation and other municipal services.
As many of the functions of the local government overlap with the functions of the CDA and ICT Administration, the commission recommends that the Islamabad local government be fully involved in the implementation of the recommendations of the commission.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 1st, 2015.