Pollution remains unchecked in beautiful Islamabad
By Shahzad Malik
ISLAMABAD: Islamabad is beautiful. This is the slogan of the Capital Development Authority. However, the beauty of the city is being diminished by the smoke emitted by motor vehicles and no concrete steps have been taken in this regard.
According to a survey carried out by Daily Times it has been observed that more than 30 per cent of government vehicles, including those of the ministry of health and the ministry of environment, are emitting harmful gasses into the atmosphere. This highlights the hypocrisy and emptiness of the government’s promises to make Islamabad a pollution-free city.
According to section 63 of traffic rules both public and government vehicles have to pass a fitness test twice every year and vehicles failing to do so twice have to be impounded by the traffic police and not allowed to ply the roads. However, hardly anyone follows these rules and government and public vehicles travel on roads fearlessly because of the inefficiency of the Motor Vehicles Department (MVD).
Officials of the MVD allegedly do not bother checking smoke emitting vehicles thoroughly and give passing certificates to owners of the vehicles after negotiating with them. Earlier, the environment ministry had started a vigorous campaign with the collaboration of the Capital Police to check smoke emitting vehicles plying the roads of the federal capital. Traffic police and the officials of the environment ministry imposed fined drivers if their transports were found emitting smoke. The campaign was run for one month with great enthusiasm but was later shelved for unknown reasons.
It is pertinent to mention that the chief justice of Pakistan on May 24, 2003 had taken a suo motu notice of the increase in environmental pollution and issued notices to the Ministry of Environment, provincial governments and federal agencies to submit a comprehensive action plan to check the hazard.
The environment ministry claimed that it was trying its best but a lot measures that had to be taken were beyond its capacity.
The government is already working to convert vehicles to run on compressed natural gas (CNG) to minimise harm to the environment hazard
District administration of the federal capital had planned to ply CNG vehicles for public transport in the city. Tariq Mahmood Pirzada, the deputy commissioner of Islamabad, had claimed during a press conference that CNG public transport would be plied on different routes in the city by the end of March, 2004. Nine months have passed without any sign of implementation of the project.