Hazardous waste needs to be properly and scientifically managed (Daily Times (Pakistan))

Federal Secretary for Climate Change Arif Ahmed Khan on Friday said that hazardous waste had become a major cause of escalating environmental degradation in the country and there was a pressing need to properly manage it in a scientific and environmental-friendly manner.

Chairing an important meeting on Hazardous Waste Management for Pakistan here at the Committee Room of the Ministry of Climate Change, the federal secretary said, “Industries, hospitals, electronic manufacturing companies and agriculture sector generate enormous waste which is discarded without proper management, and hence continues to damage environment, particularly water and air in the country.”

At the meeting, he highlighted it was deeply upsetting that practically nothing was being done anywhere in the country as far as proper and environmental-friendly management of any kind of waste was concerned. “Our streets and roads reflect well the grim situation of the waste management, which has become source of pungent and stinking smell, contaminating water bodies, air and land,” he deplored.

Khan said that hospital waste had become a grave threat to the environment, most of which was being disposed of improperly. He pledged not to spare any hospital found involved in discarding waste haphazardly and without proper management. He warned of initiating legal proceedings against the hospitals which were not incinerating the waste material properly.

He said there was a dire need for a viable system through which hospitals could be monitored regarding the waste management while bringing to book the ones failing to abide by the relevant laws. Every hospital must make allocations in their budgets for proper waste management, he added.

Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency Islamabad Director General Khursheed Ahmed informed the meeting that at present there are around 300 hospitals of varying sizes in Islamabad, most of which are not incinerating the hospital waste in a scientific and environment-friendly manner. “There is also a need for setting standards for incineration process, for most of the existing waste incineration processes in hospitals are below standard,” he pointed out.

Group Managing Director of Malaysia-based international company Pollution Engineerings, Tony YC Liew, was also present at the meeting who showed interest in installing hazardous waste disposal facilities in different cities of Pakistan, particularly in Karachi, Lahore, Faisalabad and Islamabad on build, operate and own basis.

Liew gave a detailed presentation on the scope and benefits of hazardous waste management in Pakistan and offered his companys all-out services to help Pakistan cope with worsening state of the waste management, which is a major cause of environmental degradation and several health diseases. “We are ready to provide services in wastewater treatment and recycling system, solid waste treatment system, sewage treatment, energy generation from waste, installation of hazardous waste disposal facilities, cleaning of rivers and sea, transfer of relevant green technology and technical know-how to Pakistan.

In this regard, the federal secretary for climate change welcomed the offer extended by Pollution Engineerings for services regarding proper waste management in the country and assured of his full support to actualise their offer for services, which Pakistan desperately needs. “We will support if Pollution Engineerings launches waste management projects in the country and brings relevant technology, technical expertise and plays its role in capacity-building of the relevant departments in Pakistan,” he said.

Director General (Environment and Climate Change) at the Ministry of Climate Change, Sajjad Ahmed Bhutta, pressed on the need for making incineration a national policy option, engaging all provincial environmental protection agencies (EPAs) in this regard, and setting of quality standards for waste-related technology.

Among others, the meeting was also attended by Pollution Engineering Pakistan Chief Executive Amir Younus and Pollution Engineering Director Oh Ying Ying.