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ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly Standing Committee on Climate Change and Environmental Coordination expressed serious concern and sorrow over the death of a man and his son due to falling into a gas-filled gutter in I-10/4, Islamabad.

The committee met with MNA Nuzhat Pathan in the chair at the Parliament House on Wednesday.

The committee members raised the issue of stolen gutter lids due to which a man and his son lost their lives due to falling into a gas-filled gutter. The committee expressed deep sorrow over the sad incident and directed the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to make sure covering of all manholes in the federal capital.

Responding to the committee, the CDA chairman apprised the committee that recycled plastic is to be used in the near future as these lids are least likely to be stolen.

The Standing Committee on Climate Change and Environmental Coordination took notice of the issue of increasing garbage in the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) which is causing severe damage to the environment.

The CDA chairman apprised the committee that the CDA has outsourced garbage collection to a Chinese company and now garbage is being collected from the rural areas of the capital city, as well. He assured the committee that this issue will be settled soon.

While discussing the matter of housing societies in Islamabad (legal and illegal) that are causing severe damage to the sewerage system in the ICT, it was informed to the committee by the CDA authorities that the Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency (Pak-EPA) has granted environmental approvals to 48 housing schemes within the jurisdiction of the ICT under IEE/ EIA Regulations of 2000.

Currently, nine housing scheme cases are undergoing the process for environmental approval consideration, while seven cases have been rejected or closed due to non-performance by the proponents.

It was also revealed that there is no ministerial representation in the approval board that is awarding the NOC. The committee strongly stressed that at least one member from ministry/ EPA should be a part of this because it is a matter of national security.

Additional Secretary Ministry of Climate Change and Environmental Coordination Musadik Ahmed told the committee that in Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) 1995 were introduced to create pest and weather-resistant crops.

The poultry traders and importers of soybean seeds have created an exploitative hullabaloo at the national level pertaining to halt of GMO seeds as the importers were illicitly importing the soybean seeds without meeting the legal formalities and protocols.

The chairperson raised the query before the Ministry of Climate Change pertaining to the alleged deliberate halt of soybean seeds causing economic damage to the poultry industry and an increase in the price of broiler chicken.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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