‘New EPA’s laws: Businessmen hesitate to invest in KP’

F.P. Report

PESHAWAR: Though a vast number of environmental institutions exist on federal and on provincial level in our country but their unfavorable policies have serious implications on the economic growth and the flow of investment in our province.
Also due to lack of strategic planning for economic prosperity along with environmental preservation mainly by the provincial policy makers and insufficiency of the required technical skills of the Environmental Protection Institutes in environmental Acts, Laws, Policies, Litigations and enforcement have further, worsen the environment for investment by the business community. Similarly, the EPA-KP dependence on the Federal decisions and the Federal EPA discriminatory policies for KP has seriously increased unemployment rate in the province. Since one year, the plastic industries are closed by the Environmental Protection Agency-KP without any prior notice and in spite of several meetings with the provincial govt, the issue standstill. Other industries in our province too are bit confused with the ever changing Act of Emission Standards by EPA. Conclusively EPA not only closes those industries arrogantly, whom they issued NOCs but have no solution for the industrialists’ million amount of investment in existing industries.
Instead they should strategically plan the most appropriate environmentally friendly businesses in the province and should have fix rules for its operation. Likewise they should provide NOC to a production facility once Environmental Impact Analysis (EIA) process ensures its suitability and the EPA’s must have sufficient skills to guarantee its smooth running too.
Our National Environmental Protection Act 1997 established to preserve historic, cultural and natural resources in order to promote the widest range of beneficial uses of the environment without undesirable and unintended consequences. This requires to, create and maintain conditions under which man and nature can exist in productive harmony and to reorder our priorities, so that environmental costs and benefits should assume balance in value along with other considerations.
Similarly the Act rules out certain implementation procedures to achieve the goal of our Environmental Protection Act, in which Environmental Impact Analysis (EIA) serve as a framework for the nation‘s system of Environmental Regulations and is a crucial tool in guiding the policy makers for informed decisions. Similarly EIA incorporates the participation of a wide range of national, provincial, local, scientific and technical authorities of govt and non –govt sectors to comment on proposed activity, thereby avoiding costly mistakes and facilitate overlap cooperation. In addition to, EIA assess the impact of particular actions on the environment and appropriate alternatives are recommended and technical and economic benefits of the planned actions are weighed against the environmental cost.
Moreover the Environmental Regulations, Rulemaking Procedures and Reforming of Rulemaking process require the agency to prepare rulemaking Proposals and issue a public notice for public hearing and submitting written comments and then publication of the final rule by EPA. Furthermore a website is launched where the public can submit detailed information on the agency’s activities and access to the agency’s reports and databases. Besides, the Regulations must be expressed in clear directives that can be understandable by the business community and enforceable by the govt authority. In addition to, the Regulations should specify the design and performance standards of the technology concerned and encourage the corporate investment beneficial, to environment through certain subsidies.
Notwithstanding of such administrative procedures, the EPA-KP frequently amends the Act of Non-Bio Degradable and Oxo-Bio-Degradable Plastic and setting of Emission Standards of Chemni smoke. Their autonomy in rulemaking, issuance of NOC for developing industries by ignoring EIA, sealing the industrial facilities without any prior notice, delaying tactics of the concerned weak management, centralized decisions of the Federal EPA, lack of technical knowledge in resolving the issues, negotiation, prompt industries sealing and lack of strategic decisions—-all reflect extreme incompetence, dependence and non-cooperative attitude of EPA -KP.
Above all, though the EPA banned the local plastic industries, the KP province receives the smuggled plastic products especially the shopping bags from our other provinces and from the neighboring countries. These factors intensified the business community, specifically the manufacturers, who invested millions on their industries and now are hanged by EPA for the fate of their industries. Therefore the government needs to resolve their issues as soon as possible.