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November 9, 2018

Concern voiced about cross-border pollution


November 9, 2018

Islamabad : Adviser to the prime minister on climate change Malik Amin Aslam Khan expressed concern about the cross-border pollution and said Pakistan has been constantly monitoring the situation but help from the Air Quality Asia, an international air quality advocacy programme, would be more than welcome.

He was talking to President of Air Quality Asia Shazia Z. Rafi, who called on him at the Ministry of Climate Change here.

The adviser apprised the visitor of the deteriorating air quality in Pakistan and the corrective steps being taken by the government.

Shazia Rafi said the Air Quality Asia had launched a pilot project in four countries of Asia namely India, Pakistan, Indonesia, and Philippines for sustainable transport, renewable energy, and clean air.

She said as smog and air pollution was a trans-border/cross-border issue and it should be handled in full coordination and cooperation with the bordering countries.

"We need people to people and parliamentarians interaction to raise the issue of crop burning, which causes a devastating smog," she said.

Shazia Z. Rafi pointed towards the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nation Human Right Commission (UNHCR) Convention on the Long-Range Trans-Boundary Air Pollution intended to protect the human environment against air pollution and gradually reduce and prevent air pollution including long-range transboundary air pollution.

She said in order to make the WHO and UNHCR Convention on the Long-Range Trans-Boundary Air Pollution practicable, Pakistan should actively participate and encourage that Convention.

The president of Air Quality Asia said in line with the practice and protocols of implementing penalties on cross-border pollution adopted and implemented by regional organisations like Association of South East Asian Nations, the SAARC countries should follow suit.

She quoted the World Health Organisation report on 20 most air-polluted cities in the world and out of 20 polluted cities forty polluted cities were in India, two in Pakistan and one in Bangladesh, which was a devastating situation for the South Asian countries.

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