Lahore: The River Ravi Commission, constituted by an order of the Green Bench of the Lahore High Court, concluded its first meeting held over two days with a session at WWF – Pakistan head Office in Lahore.
The Ravi Commission is chaired by the Dr. Kausar Abduallah Malik, formerly of the Pakistan Agriculture Research Council and now a Professor at F.C. College, the Advocate General, Punjab, Secretary, Environment Protection Department, Commissioner, Lahore, M.D., WASA, Ali Hassan Habib (DG WWF - Pakistan), Vaqar Zakriya, Anjum Altaf, Kamil Khan Mumtaz and Ahmad Rafay Alam.
The Commission was established by the Lahore High Court vide Order dated 8 June 2012. The objective of the Ravi Commission is to restore the natural ecology of the River Ravi. The River Ravi is the most polluted river in Pakistan and contributes to nearly 50 percent of the overall discharge of effluent into the River Indus. Because of the pollution, nearly 40 species of fish have been lost and the river is now no longer even suitable for recreational purposes. The water of the river poses serious health hazards to not just communities living along the river coast, but also to people whose indirect water source is Ravi.
The Public Interest Law Association of Pakistan and the Lahore Conservation Society had filed a writ petition before the Lahore High Court praying for action to be taken to ensure that the liquid effluent discharged into the River Ravi meet prescribed National Environmental Quality Standards. After hearing the comments of the Government of Punjab, the Environment Protection Agency, Punjab and the Water and Sanitation Agency, Lahore, the Green Bench of the Lahore High Court directed that the Ravi Commission be tasked with the responsibility of proposing a pollution and effluent discharge reduction strategy. It is to submit its preliminary report to the Lahore High Court within two months.
During its two-day first meeting, the Commission was given overview presentations by the EPD and WASA. It then took an extensive site inspection of the effluent discharge points and WASA pumping stations along the River Ravi. On the second day of its meeting, the Commission heard from experts from the private sector and then convened for a strategy session.
Case studies from India and other neighbouring countries were shared as replicable models of ecological restoration. The Commission adjourned with directions that a baseline study of the River Ravi must be conducted, identifying pollution sources, polluters and the effected parties. The EPD and WASA were requested to prepare preliminary administrative and financial proposals for the implementation of a plan to ensure that the water of the river can be restored to its natural ecological level.
WWF – Pakistan is the only non-governmental organization currently a member of the Ravi Commission.
About WWF - Pakistan
World Wide Fund for Nature - Pakistan was formed in 1970 to address the growing environmental and conservation issues in Pakistan that not only affected the flora and fauna, but were also affecting the human population. WWF – Pakistan is a non-profit organisation, working to preserve, conserve and save our environment and natural resources. Today, WWF - Pakistan works through 31 offices with a team of approximately 340 dedicated staff members. We have our Head Office in Lahore, regional offices in Karachi, Islamabad, Peshawar, Gilgit, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Quetta, and project offices wherever there is need and the potential to make a difference.
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