Wajihuddin Ahmed on envionmental issues in Pakistan

Published: Monday 31 December 2007

-- wajihuddin ahmed, a former chief justice of Sindh High Court and a former supreme court judge, is a strong voice in the lawyers' movement in Pakistan. He speaks to shahid husain on people's attitude to environmental issues

achievements: As a judge at the Sindh High Court, I ordered that poaching of endangered Houbra bustards by Arabs should be stopped. I also ordered that untreated industrial and municipal waste should not be thrown in the Arabian Sea (around 275 million gallons of industrial and municipal waste is thrown in the sea everyday. Of that, 110 million gallons comprise municipal waste and the rest is industrial waste). Indigenous methods can be used to treat industrial and municipal waste.

Public response: There are very few petitions filed against violation of environmental laws in the country. There is some reaction only when judges take suo motu action. Media should create awareness about environmental issues.

Regulatory body: The Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency is ill-equipped and takes little action against violation of laws.

Depleting resources: How can the common man pay heed to environment when the majority of people have no access to education and healthcare? Besides, resources are being wasted with impunity. This is because of a callous society controlled by feudal landlords. Even the industrial sector is run by people who have a feudal mentality and without any vision for future. As a result of this, resources are depleting fast. Pakistan has minuscule tree cover but even then one can find instances of burning of wood in different parts of the country and this is because of the state's indifference towards environment and resources.

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