Need to increase subsidy, machinery to avoid stubble burning: Amin

ISLAMABAD:Adviser to Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam Wednesday said there was need to increase subsidy and machinery for farmers to avoid stubble burning.

He made these remarks while briefing the Climate Change Caucus of the Senate here.

Amin said, “There are 1 million farmers at present where only 50,000 have gotten the happy seed machinery to remove stubble and avoid burning it to curb smog.”

The Happy Seeder is a tractor PTO operated machine that cuts and lifts paddy/rice straw, sows wheat and other crop seeds into the bare soil and deposits the straw over the sown area as mulch.

The adviser said air pollution was a silent killer which had become significant during the past five years.

“Karachi Redline Metro Bus is the only Global Climate Fund (GCF) approved project. It would run 200 buses on methane gas produced from cow dung. Around 50,000 tonnes of cow dung from Bhains Colony is dumped in the Arabian Sea which needs more water to get reduced whereas it will be collected from the Bhains Colony to produce methane gas for the buses. It will be the first zero emission bus service,” he added.

He also told the caucus that Smog committee in Punjab was re-notified under the provincial finance minister and had its regular meetings.

Senator Sherry Rehman while chairing the caucus meeting expressed her displeasure over the absence of Balochistan Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and presentation delivered by the Punjab EPA.

She directed all the provincial EPAs to come with clear targets and timelines to curb smog in their provinces. Senator Sherry Rehman suggested that the senators of their respective provinces should have snap visit in their provincial EPAs to get account of their performance with respect to smog mitigation and share it with the caucus.

She also proposed to bring into notice the best practices around the world especially the one done in London to end smog.

Senator Barrister Muhammad Ali Khan Saif said International Labour Organization (ILO) had released a report a decade ago on the hazardous air quality index on roads which was detrimental for police officers on duty.

Moreover, the smog phenomenon was predicted back a few decades ago in Pakistan by global environmental and development watchdogs. It was regrettable to see no preventible measures taken in this regard.