Climate Change

KP-EPA Fines Polluters Rs. 25 Million

In a drive to combat pollution and uphold environmental regulations, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Climate Change, Forestry, Environment and Wildlife Department has imposed hefty fines totaling Rs. 25.2 million on various businesses and factories across the province for breaching the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Environmental Protection Act 2014.

Information obtained through the Right to Information Act reveals a significant crackdown by the Environmental Directorate over the past five years. Between 2018 and 2023, a total of 141 business premises faced penalties for environmental violations, highlighting the department’s commitment to environmental protection.

Peshawar region emerged as the most active in imposing fines, penalizing 69 premises with a total of Rs. 11.07 million during the same period. This figure represents the highest penalties imposed by any region in the province, demonstrating Peshawar’s stricter stance on environmental compliance. Notably, 46 premises in Peshawar, including 13 housing schemes, were fined a sum of Rs. 7.67 million between 2021 and 2023 alone, indicating a recent surge in enforcement efforts.

Other regions also took action against environmental violators. Swat region imposed fines totaling Rs. 3.6 million on 48 premises, while Abbottabad and the South Region (including Kohat and Bannu) issued fines of Rs. 1.6 million and Rs. 21.29 million respectively.

These penalties are imposed under Section 13 of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Environmental Protection Act 2014, which mandates that construction and operation projects obtain mandatory environmental assessments and approvals. By enforcing these regulations, the department aims to ensure sustainable development and minimize environmental damage caused by industrial activities.

Despite the department’s efforts, challenges remain. Currently, 177 out of 308 sanctioned posts within the department are vacant, highlighting a manpower shortage that could hinder effective enforcement of environmental regulations. This shortage underscores the need for increased investment in the department to ensure it has the resources necessary to adequately protect the province’s environment.

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