RAWALPINDI: The Punjab government has thrashed out a new initiative to strengthen environmental governance and promote green investment in the province.
The initiative called “Punjab Green Development Programme” will be launched with the help of the World Bank, which will contribute a major chunk of the $273 million project. The World Bank will contribute $200 million and the Punjab government $73 million, sources said.
The project aims to ensure a green and pollution-free Punjab. It also aims to monitor air and water quality in all 36 districts of Punjab.
According to sources, a special technical team consisting of seven officers has also been formed for the implementation of this project. The very first focus would be monitoring air quality and water quality in different regions of Punjab. This would be done with the help of modern eco-friendly technology. An eco-friendly industry policy will be formulated to ensure the use of such technology across industries and legislation will also be carried out in this regard, the sources said.
According to sources, the environmental protection, industries, finance, transport and energy department have been tasked to implement the mega project. Representatives of the World Bank will constantly supervise the project to ensure its timely completion.
The industries department will be responsible to ensure that smoke from the brick kilns, stone crushing plants, factories and vehicles was brought under control.
Smoke-emitting vehicles will be regularly checked and there will be a ban on the use of old vehicles while worn-out public transportation will be prohibited, the sources said.
Meanwhile, the use of environment-friendly transport will be ensured with the support of the transport department. Battery-powered vehicles will be encouraged. The department will be equipped with strong and modern technology to guarantee effectiveness and efficiency.
Under the project, the use of plastic shopping bags will be strictly banned and necessary legislation would be carried out in this regard since their use is extremely hazardous.
The sources said that green financing will be ensured to promote an environmentally friendly industry. Similarly, the investment would also be made in the energy sector.
In this regard, World Bank representative Chris Warner also met with Ministry of Environment Secretary Abdul Rauf and both discussed project-related matters. The project will be completed in one year, the secretary said.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 22nd, 2022.