QUETTA: The Ministry of Climate Change, Government of Pakistan in collaboration with Environment Protection Agency, Government of Balochistan organized awareness workshop, here on Thursday to sensitize the stakeholders on “Minamata Initial Assessment and Training on Inventory of Mercury and Mercury Compound / Products in Pakistan.
The Project – Development of Minamata Initial Assessment in Pakistan is aimed to strengthen the baselines on mercury management, development of national mercury, inventories, piloting of sectorial action plans as a follow up of prioritization and development of national mercury management plans and regional approach.
The Obaid Ullah Jan Babit, Advisor to Chief Minister Balochistan on Environment while speaking at the workshop as Chief Guest underlined the need for making joint efforts to create awareness among the people.
He said that the help and cooperation of the experts’ was vital to combat mercury consumption and introduce alternate products to phase out use of mercury. In Pakistan, the advisor to the Chief Minister said that the waste from industries and hospitals are considered the major sources of mercury. The other factors of mercury generation included jewellery, skin creams, batteries, paints etc.
He said that Pakistan is the signatory of Minamata Convention on Mercury and is responsible to implement the provisions of the international agreement and raise awareness about the importance of regulating the management and disposal of this toxic chemical element.
Mr. Tariq Zahri, the Director General, EPA Balochistan presented his recommendations focusing on coordination of provincial Mercury task force, raising awareness through media, magazines, TV channels and radio programs, amendment in EPA Act, change in syllabus of schools, colleges, dermatology and dentistry, hospitals, dentists and Gynae clinics. Also, ensure compulsory labeling of contents.
Justice (R) Mehta Kalash Nath Kohli, Former Chairman, Environmental Tribunal, Balochistan and the Chairman, Baluchistan Public Service Commission suggested amendment in environmental act and ban on the use of mercury in products and processes The Secretary Environment Production Agency, Balochistan, Sajjad Ahmed Bhutta, Dr. Zaigham Abbas, Deputy Director (Chemical) Ministry of Climate Change, Dr. Mahmud A. Khwaja, President, International Society for Doctors and Environment, Dr.
Shabir Lehri, Principal, Bolan Medical College, Quetta, Dr. Rauf Shah, Vice Principal, Bolan Medical College, Quetta, Dr. Zahoor Bazai, University of Balochistan, Iftikhar-ul-Hasan Shah Gilani, Joint Secretary (International Cooperation) Ministry of Climate Change, Government of Pakistan shared their practical experiences and way forward to strengthen the environment.
The other partners of the workshop included International Environment Technical Centre, United Nations Environment Programme are in cooperation with Ministry of Climate Change to develop baselines for national mercury. The development of national mercury would ensure health, environment protection from mercury poisoning, known as Minamata disease.