Compliance to the Port Qasim master plan essential for environmental sustainability

Karachi: The Port Qasim Authority (PQA) has been asked to publicly share the federally approved gazetted copy of its master plan and an assessment study of the cumulative repercussions of all industrial projects coming within its jurisdiction.

Concerns were raised at a public hearing held by the Sindh Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA). It was in regards to $300 million integrated LNG project marked at Chhan Waddo-Chara Creek in plan by Tabeer Energy Private Ltd. It requires the removal of mangroves spread over an area of 22.239 acres.

Conservator forest Riaz Waggan said that Forest Department has never granted an NOC to any developer. Mangrove destruction by anyone in the past has been a violation of the law. A no objection certificate (NOC) has been issued to the project proponent on some conditions however. These are to plant mangroves over 1000 hectares of land identified by the forest department, invest Rs.40 million in mangrove sustainability and spend another Rs40 million on community welfare projects.

Mr. Waggan has emphasized the provision of master plan to government and forest departments in order to make environmentally safe decisions because in the absence of a master plan document, any development that takes place in the Port Qasim area lacks legal validity as per sections 10 and 11 of the Port Qasim Act 1973.

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