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Islamabad

December 6, 2017

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Government urged to slap fine on refineries producing substandard diesel

Government urged to slap fine on refineries producing substandard diesel

Islamabad: The National Assembly Standing Committee on Climate Change has recommended to the federal government to slap fine on refineries producing diesel, which is not Euro-II compliant, despite expiry of the government’s deadline for the same last year.


Chairman of NA’s Standing Committee on Climate Change Malik Muhammad Uzair Khan stated this while speaking as chief guest at a seminar on pollution-free transport here on Tuesday.


The National Forum for Environment and Health (NFEH) organized the moot with an aim to promote environment friendly and sustainable mass transport systems in the country using improved technologies and fuels to reduce harmful emissions from public vehicles.


Uzair said the Standing Committee would make sure that the Climate Change Act 2017 comes into effect without delay to tackle alarming issues like unsustainable mass transportation means that account for over 70 per cent airborne pollution in the country.


“For us, 2017 is a historic year as the Parliament has passed the Climate Change Act showing national level consensus to improve environment and combat the issue of pollution,” Uzair. He said that the Standing Committee on Climate Change had held its meeting the other day, calling upon the government to immediately establish the council, authority, and fund as envisaged in the Climate Change Act for the cause of environmental protection across the country. He said the proposed Climate Change Council has membership of all the concerned stakeholders including prime minister, provincial chief ministers, federal, and provincial ministers concerned so to devise a national level strategy to improve and safeguard the environment.


Uzair said that the Standing Committee had recommended to the federal government to exempt all kind of taxes on electric and hybrid cars to help promote sustainable transport in the country. He said the Standing Committee would do its best to make sure that recent initiatives to build mass transportation systems are implemented in a manner that they should cause least harm to the environment.


Also speaking on the occasion, Federal Secretary Climate Change Syed Abu Ahmad Akif said, till present day, 15 percent diesel is being produced in the country by two refineries, which was not Euro-II compliant. This is happening despite lapse of the deadline March 2016 given by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources in its statutory regulatory order to produce 100 percent Euro-II compliant diesel.


The two refineries in question are supposed to invest US $400 million to produce Euro-II compliant diesel to meet the requirement set by the Petroleum Ministry, said the federal secretary. “We are required to launch a movement to highlight that over 200 million people in the country will continue to suffer till the time these two refineries desist from investing the required sum of US $400 million,” he said. “The only recourse suggested by the Petroleum Ministry to resolve the issue is to impose a fine but in my opinion this option is useless till the time the recommended amount of the fine is less than the profit earned by the two refineries,” he added.


The federal secretary said that as the issue does nit come under the purview of Climate Change Ministry, he could only write a letter to Petroleum Ministry to resolve the issue without further delay. He conceded that there is not a single landfill site within the territorial limits of the federal capital for safe disposal of municipal waste. Lahore will become the first city to host such a landfill site, he said.


Ali Tauqeer Sheikh, CEO of LEAD Pakistan, said that in last 20 years, the means of public transportation had not increased as compared to the phenomenal increase in two-wheelers and cars. Dr. Muhammad Saleem Janjua, who recently headed the UNDP’s Pakistan Sustainable Transport project, said that government should desist from importing modern motor vehicles for which it cannot provide specified upgraded and refined forms of fuel. He said that owing to failure of the government to produce petroleum products of desired superior quality, vehicular emissions in Pakistan had been causing massive damage to its environment as compared to other countries.


Fauzia Malik, programme coordinator at IUCN, said the government should come up with mandatory regulations for necessary consumption of environmental friendly and efficient forms of fuels both by public and private vehicles. She said it is time the government introduced modern means of public transportation that should use renewable forms of energy and clean modes of fuel for their sustainable operations. High-speed electric trains powered by clean energy grid would be one such viable solution to replace conventional means of countrywide long-distance travel in the country mostly done these days through present railway and airline systems, she said.


In his concluding remarks, NFEH President Naeem Qureshi said the government should adopt necessary legislation and policy framework so that all public buses and other means of mass transportation should use Euro-II compliant technologies and fuel for sustainable and environment friendly operations.

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