LAHORE: A two-day capacity building workshop regarding compliance with national and international environmental laws regarding clean drinking water and its usage in the country concluded on Wednesday in Lahore.
WWF-Pakistan organised this workshop under the project “International Labour and Environmental Standards (ILES), Application in Pakistan’s Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)” which was attended by a large number of stakeholders from public and private sectors.
While addressing the different sessions of the workshop, the speakers highlighted the grave issue of water scarcity which the people of Pakistan might face in the near future in case of authorities’ reluctance in resolving the issue.
They said, “Pakistan is a water-stressed country and is nearing the threshold of water scarcity. Access to safe drinking water in rural and urban areas is declining and provision of potable water is a key issue that people face”.
Punjab Irrigation Department’s Irrigation Research Institute Director Ghulam Zakir Hassan Sial said that safe drinking water was not available to the city of Lahore while groundwater was depleting at a rate of 2.5 feet/year.
“If this rate of depletion continues, a time will come when there will be no safe water available for future generations of Lahore,” he said.
Ministry of Climate Change Representative Shafqat Abbas was of the view that the textile and leather sectors represent the largest domain of the industrial base and played a key role in the country’s economy and were also key contributors of carbon emissions in the country. He said that there was a dire need for proper incorporation and implementation of Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEA) within local laws.
Briefing about the project, Project Manager Sohail Naqvi said that the six-year ILES project was funded by European Union (EU) and was being jointly implemented by WWF-Pakistan with the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Lahore, Karachi, Sialkot and Faisalabad. He said that the project aimed to implement international labour and environmental standards in Pakistan in order to improve the capacity of the public sector to implement MEAs and national environmental laws and standards in Pakistan.
Government departments, including Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), University of Engineering and Technology (UET), National Engineering Services Pakistan (NESPAK), Punjab Saaf Pani Company (PSPC), Al Jazari Academy, Water and Sanitation Agency (WASA), Ozkartallar Campak Joint Venture (OZPAK), Punjab Public Health Authority, Lahore Waste Management Company (LWMC), Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR), The Urban Unit, Ministry of Climate Change, Industry Commerce and Investment Department, Infrastructure Development Authority Punjab, and many others participated in the two-day event.