The chair expressed her dissatisfaction over the absence of DG Pak-EPA Farzana Altaf Shah

ISLAMABAD (Dunya News) – The National Assembly Standing Committee on Climate Change on Monday demanded the Ministry of Climate Change (MoCC) to set a separate Electric Vehicles (EVs) Regulatory Board for ensuring proper management and mitigation of its hazardous impact on the environment.

The National Assembly Standing Committee on Climate Change meeting was chaired MNA Munaza Hassan.

The chair expressed her dissatisfaction over the absence of Director General Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency (Pak-EPA) Farzana Altaf Shah. The Ministry officials informed that the DG was seriously ill and unable to attend the meeting due to her treatment of the ailment.

Speaking on the occasion, MNA Munaza Hassan said, “We have read the EV Policy and our concern is of recycling of the batteries used in it which is not indicated in the entire policy. If e-waste component is not part of the EV Policy then it is in complete. It’s environmental hazards should have been the part of it.”

Ms Hassan censured EPA officials for their negligence in introducing amendments to the Pakistan Environmental Protection Act 1997 (PEPA 1997) that had no clear mentioning of e-waste which was separate from hazardous waste.

She questioned the EPA staff that there was no budgetary demand made in the Public Sector Development (PSDP) so far for making up its human resource and fiscal gaps.

“Our knowledge hub comprises of 70 experts that are guiding the parliamentary committee on environmental issues and way forward,” she underscored.

Ms Hassan directed that a letter should be written to Ministry of Industries Production (MoIP) for holding Engineering Development Board (EDB) meeting coinciding with parliamentary committee meeting where the senior officials did not attend the Committee meeting.

Briefing the Committee, Secretary MoCC Naheed Shah Durrani said the Ministry had serious concerns over e-waste generation and safe disposal and efforts were underway to gauge the scale of e-waste generated at the landfill.

Joint Secretary International Convention, MoCC Mujtaba Hussain told the Committee that the Ministry was at an advance stage to develop an inventory and policy framework on e-waste management in collaboration with UNIDO.

MNA Syed Mustafa Mahmud proposed that the MoCC should work out a complete plan for recycling EV batteries whereas the new regulatory body should be given to the Ministry.

Minister of State of Climate Change Zartaj Gul said, “EV Policy was our vision and approved by the Cabinet. The MoIP was not delivered the entire vision properly that developed some sort of rift.”

MNA Shaista Pervaiz said, “Our concern is less on policy more on its outcomes as it’s a huge policy shift that needs to be managed amicably.”

MNA Andleeb Abbas opined that EV was a disruptive technology that needed a proper mechanism where it was already in production in various countries like US and their model should be adopted.

“We should recommend a strong regulatory body with all ministries on board with full powers as it’s an abnormal technology,” she added.

The Committee deferred the meeting Agenda 4&5 due to the absence of its movers.