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Experts at a workshop on Tuesday underlined the need for cleaner fuel usage in vehicles to control air pollution and lessen the burden from national kitty in terms of pollution related diseases.
Speaking on “A Roadmap for Upgradation of Vehicular Fuel Quality in Pakistan,” the experts underlined the need for improving fuel efficiency in road transport and improve the fuel quality for controlling air pollution.
“The poor quality of vehicular fuels is a major cause of air pollution in Pakistan,” remarked Ahmad Saeed, Manager of the National Impact Assessment Program at the seminar organized by International Union for Conservation of Nature and Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency (Pak-EPA), Ministry of Climate Change. The seminar was organized under the auspices of Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles (PCFV) and Clean Air Asia. “Pakistan is the most urbanized Country of South Asia at the rate of 33.5 per cent and consumption of petroleum products in the country is increasing at a rate of six per cent about half of which is consumed by the transport sector,” informed Ahmed Saeed. PCFV was launched at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) held in Johannesburg in 2002 by a group of committed partners from governments, industry and civil society organizations. PCFV aims to provide support to the developing countries in improving fuel and vehicle technologies. Speaking as Chief Guest, Syed Muhammad Ali Gardezi, Secretary Ministry of Climate Change said that the government, through Pak-EPA is making efforts to reduce air pollution. He mentioned to number of policy and regulatory measures, including National Environment Action Plan (NEAP), which reflects a renewed commitment to environment and focuses on air and water quality and solid waste with an aim to achieve a visible improvement in the quality of environment.
Javed Malik, Member (Food, and Agriculture) Planning Commission of Pakistan chaired the discussions. Asif Shuja Khan, Director General, Pak-EPA, Irfan Tariq, Director General, Ministry of Climate Change, Hamid Marwat, Chief Environment Section, Planning Commission of Pakistan, Hidayat Hassan from Hagler Baillys Pakistan were amongst the panellists.
Saadullah Ayaz, Manager Pakistan Sustainable Transport Project, IUCN gave a brief presentation on the Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles (PCFV).
Asif Shuja Khan, Director General Pak-EPA, informed the audience that due to rapid population growth and consequent increased pressure on resources, the consumption of fuel has increased drastically contributing to air pollution and consequently health problems.
He pointed out that the transport and power sector consume 90 per cent of the total fuel production which ultimately contributes to increased levels of suspended particulate matter. The proceedings were followed by discussion where the participants shared their concerns and suggestions for improving the fuel standards in the Country. The participants informed that due to incentives offered by the government, the refineries are already producing Euro II compliant gasoline.
It was also highlighted that marketing of smuggled fuel in Pakistan is also a major source of pollution and suggested that a comprehensive traffic management and vehicle inspection program needs to be adopted and promote mass transit system as a friendly alternate need.