Karachi The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Pakistan has demanded a thorough environmental impact assessment (EIA) before approving new nuclear plants in the metropolis.
During a meeting of the executive committee of the IUCN Pakistan national committee at the IUCN country office in Karachi on Wednesday, Malik Amin Aslam was elected chairman of the national committee.
Syed Mehmood Nasir and Nadir Gul were elected vice chairman and member of the executive committee, respectively.
The national committee comprises the climate change division as a state member, six government agencies, 27 non-governmental organisations and one international organisation.
The executive committee members held the meeting to discuss the announcement of setting up new nuclear plants with the support of China.
The members were of the view that though a severe energy crisis in the country cannot be ignored, this particular option required decisions based on facts and a thorough cost-benefit analysis.
The members unanimously agreed that a detailed study should be conducted on the technical pros and cons of the nuclear power option.
They expressed serious concerns over the location of the sites being in close proximity to the most densely populated city of the country.
This aspect requires the utmost care and caution before proceeding, they said.
They said the other related aspects of the issue, contingency evacuation plan in case of any emergency and proper disposal of nuclear waste, also required in-depth studies.
They demanded that a proper EIA of the proposed energy option be carried out in consultation with all the stakeholders. They also demanded a public hearing in this regard, as it is required by law.
Reviewing a letter sent by the heirs of the late Ameer of Bahawalpur regarding the deteriorating condition of Derawar Fort in Cholistan Desert, the members felt that after the 18th amendment, the Punjab government needed to take urgent cognisance of the issue followed by concrete efforts to protect the unique heritage site.
The government should also take steps to get the fort included in the list of World Heritage Sites, they said.
The members appreciated the recent drive by the Sindh government to take concrete steps for saving and raising awareness about the province’s historical and cultural heritage.
They said the Punjab government also needed to ensure that the invaluable Derawar Fort was preserved for future generations.
World Parks Congress
IUCN Pakistan representative Mehmood Akhtar Cheema presented an overview of the IUCN World Parks Congress to be held in Sydney, Australia, from November 12 to 19.
The participants of the meeting discussed effective participation in the congress to showcase and present
results of some of the initiatives related to national parks and protected areas in Pakistan.