CSS Solved Environmental Science Past Paper 2023 | Discuss in detail the salient features of Pakistan environmental protection act 1997.
The following question of Environmental Science is attempted on the same pattern, taught by Sir to his students, scoring the highest marks in compulsory subjects for years. This solved past paper question is uploaded to help aspirants understand how to crack a topic or question, how to write relevantly, what coherence is, and how to include and connect ideas, opinions, and suggestions to score the maximum.
The question statement is very simple and examiner wants you to throw light on the prominent features of Pakistan environmental protection act 1997. Pakistan environmental protection act is a lengthy official document which you cannot write word by word so all you have to do write the most important features of this act. For 20 marks question, you must write at least ten most important features from the act. To put intellectual impact must write the section numbers mentioned in act so your answer can stand out from rest of the papers.
2- Historical background of Pakistan environmental protection act (PEPA) 1997
3- Prominent features of the Pakistan environmental protection act
- ✓Initial environmental examination and environmental impact assessment
- ✓Handling of hazardous substance
- ✓Prohibition of certain discharges or emissions
- ✓Regulations on motor vehicles
- ✓Offences by corporate bodies, local authorities and Government agencies and their penalties
- ✓Establishment and management of a provisional sustainable development fund
4- Establishment of environmental institutions under PEPA 1997
- ✓Pakistan environmental protection council
- ✓Federal environmental protection agencies
- ✓Provincial environmental protection agencies
Answer to the Question
Pakistan environmental protection act (PEPA) 1997 is an act that provides all the essential guidelines for the protection, conservation, rehabilitation, and improvement of the environment in order to prevent and control pollution. All these guidelines ultimately lead to the promotion of sustainable development. In this act, every minor detail related to the environment and adverse environmental effects are discussed. This act deals with different sections of society, ranging from simple definitions of the environment to environmental examination and environmental impact assessment. This law is applicable to the whole country. Under its umbrella, different environmental institutions are established at both federal and provincial levels. PEPA provides a foundational structure for the implementation of national conservation strategy legislation, and the establishment and management of sustainable development funds. It also deals with the appointment of environmental magistrates. In short, PEPA is a broad-spectrum body that deals with the protection of the environment in different and effective ways.
Historical background of Pakistan environmental protection act (PEPA) 1997
Pakistan environmental protection act was approved by the National Assembly of Pakistan and Senate on September 3, 1997, and November 7, 1997, respectively. The act received acknowledgement from the President of Pakistan on December 3, 1997. Pakistan’s Environmental Policy is built on a participatory approach to accomplishing sustainable development goals through institutional mechanisms that are practical, logistically, and legally sound. PEPA was enacted on 6th December 1997 by repealing the Pakistan Environmental Protection Ordinance, 1983. The environmental protection ordinance of Pakistan was disseminated by Federal Environment Ministry in 1983. It was the foremost inclusive legislation in the history of Pakistan. The main objective of the ordinance was to establish different institutions. Pakistan attended the Earth Summit (1992) in the state of Brazil, and after that milestone; it became a member of various global conventions and protocols. However; in 1997 ordinance was repealed into what we call the ‘Act’ today.
Prominent features of the Pakistan environmental protection act
Its features are vast and deal with different sections of the environment. Let’s discuss them one by one.
- ✓ Initial environmental examination and environmental impact assessment
Initial environmental examination means the initial study, survey, and analysis of any project that is commenced at the individual or commercial level to assess whether the project has any adverse environmental impact or not. In this regard, the Federal agency (an institution under PEPA) is responsible to evaluate the Initial environmental examination and grant of its approval. The agency must involve the public at every level of review of examination and assessment. The agency is also responsible to keep separate registers for initial examinations and assessment of the impacts of projects. Sub-Section 3 deals with the exposure of necessary information to the public related to trade, business activities, and commercial, scientific, and technical matters, except for that information that is requested to keep confidential by the project proponent. However, all international relations, national security, and law and order must be revealed with t consent of the federal government.
- ✓ Handling of hazardous substance
This act elaborates on the concept of hazardous waste. According to it, any substance that has the potential to cause adverse environmental impacts because of its chemical properties such as toxicity, explosive and radioactive nature is called a ‘Hazardous substance’. Similarly, waste that contains hazardous substances is called hazardous waste. Hospital and nuclear waste are considered in this category. Sections 13 and 14 of PEPA deal with the prohibition of the import of hazardous substances and handling of hazardous substances respectively. According to these sections, no person shall be allowed to generate, accumulate, trade, transfer, handle, preserve, import, treat, discard, or any hazardous substance. No one shall be allowed to import any hazardous substance into the territory of Pakistan unless allowed by Federal Agency.
- ✓ Prohibition of certain discharges or emissions
Subject to the provisions of this Act and the rules and regulations made, no person is allowed to discharge or emit any kind of waste into water bodies or into the atmosphere above the level that is mentioned by the National Environmental Quality Standards. These standards are established by the Federal Agency under clause (e) of sub-section (1) of section 6 and approved by the Council under clause (c) of sub-section (1) of section 4. In addition, if a person contravenes or attempts to intervene the terms and conditions provided by the act must be punished by the Federal Agency. However, these conditions do not apply to the projects of industries that have permission granted by the agency.
- ✓ Regulations of motor vehicles
Federal agency under sub-section 2 has issued some rules in respect of motor vehicles. The act says that no person is allowed to steer such motor vehicles that emit a certain amount of air pollutants beyond a level that is prescribed by the National Environmental Quality Standards. To meet these standards, the Federal agency also issues some guidelines regarding the installation of pollution control devices in motor vehicles so the atmosphere should be kept clean to maintain the health of society.
- ✓ Offences by corporate bodies, local authorities and Government agencies and their penalties
When any violation of this act has been executed by corporate bodies, local authorities, and Government agencies, and it is manifested that such offence has been committed with any consent or collaboration or is done by the negligence of any person heading these authorities, must be liable to treat accordingly. However, some guidelines provided by the Companies Ordinance, 1984 (XLVII of 1984) must also be considered in this regard. Penalties vary from section to section. If a person breaches sections 11, 12, 13, or 16 shall be fined worth of up to 1 million. In case of breaching sections 14, and 15, the fine will be up to a hundred thousand rupees. Environmental Magistrate has the power to sentence him to imprisonment for a term that may extend up to two years.
- ✓ Establishment and management of a provisional sustainable development fund
Under this act, the provincial sustainable development fund is established in each province. The sources that help to establish this fund are loans and grants issued by federal and provincial governments. Aids and grants from foreign governments, national or international agencies, and non-governmental organizations may be helpful in this regard. PEPA suggests utilizing this provincial sustainable development fund in those projects that are directly or indirectly related to the protection, conservation, rehabilitation, and improvement of the environment, the prevention and control of pollution, the sustainable development of resources, and for research in any specified aspect of the environment. This fund is managed by a Board known as the Provincial Sustainable Development Fund Board consisting of a chairperson, secretary, and members from different departments.
Establishment of environmental institutions under PEPA 1997
There are different environmental institutions are established under PEPA 1997. Let’s discuss them one by one.
- ✓ Pakistan environmental protection council
It was the apex body that was initially constituted under section 3 of the Pakistan Environmental Protection Ordinance (PEPO), 1983, with the President of Pakistan as its Chairman. However, with the enactment of PEPA 1997, it was reanimated with Prime Minister as its chief executive. Under PEPA, it deals with the supervision and approval of comprehensive national environmental policies and ensures their implementation. It provides basic recommendations for the protection and conservation of species, habitats, and biodiversity in general, and for the conservation of renewable and non-renewable resources.
- ✓ Federal environmental protection agency
Federal environmental protection agency was established under PEPA to monitor and publish an annual National Environment Report on the state of the environment. It takes all the necessary measurements for the implementation of all those national policies that are approved by the council. Its main function is to ensure the enforcement of National Environmental Quality Standards. It works as a coordinator between national and international environmental policies. It also recommends to the Federal Government the adoption of financial and fiscal programs.
- ✓ Provincial environmental protection agencies
In all four provinces, Environmental Protection Agencies were created under the provision of the Pakistan Environmental Protection Act, of 1997. Federal Government has delegated its powers to the provincial governments (under section 26), and they have further delegated powers to the provincial Environmental Protection Agencies.
Conclusively, PEPA 1997 gives coverage to all domains related to the environment and its protection. From a simple definition of the environment to the complex phenomenon of protecting and conserving the environment, everything is mentioned in this act. It requires its implementation through coordination between provincial and federal governments. Pakistan is highly vulnerable to climate change, therefore; it is the responsibility of the government to implement the act, and it is merely possible through the active participation of the public. It is high time to consider all the provisions mentioned in the act to protect, preserve and conserve the environment.
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