Pakistan: Environmental Issues - Kitakyushu Initiative for a Clean

Pakistan: Environmental Issues
Poor natural resource management over many years and continuing high population growth have had a
negative impact on Pakistan's environment. Agricultural runoff--caused by ongoing deforestation--and
industrial runoff have polluted water supplies, and factory and vehicle emissions have degraded air quality in
the urban centers. Similar to other developing countries, Pakistan has focused on achieving self-sufficiency in
food production, meeting energy demands, and containing its high rate of population growth rather than on
curtailing pollution or other environmental hazards. As a result, "green" concerns have not been the
government's top priority.
Yet, as Pakistan's cities suffer from the effects of air pollution and unplanned development has caused
degradation, environmental issues have become more salient. Safeguarding public health, as well as preserving
Pakistan's natural wonders, has made environmental protection increasingly important. In an attempt to redress
the previous inattention to the nation's mounting environmental problems, in 1992 the government issued its
National Conservation Strategy Report (NCSR) outlining Pakistan's state of environmental health, its
sustainable goals, and viable program options for the future with the National Conservation Goals
Building on the Pakistan Environmental
Protection Ordinance of 1983, the NCSR
stipulated three goals for the country's
environmental protection efforts:
conservation of natural resources;
promotion of sustainable development;
and improvement of efficiency in the use
and management of resources. Fourteen
program areas were targeted for priority
implementation, including energy
efficiency improvements, renewable
resource development/deployment,
pollution prevention/reduction, urban
waste management, institutional support
of common resources, and integration of
population and environmental programs.
In addition, in 1993 Pakistan applied National Environmental Quality Standards (NEQS) (Revised in 1999) to
municipal and liquid industrial effluents and industrial gaseous emissions, motor vehicle exhaust, and noise.
However, attempts to legislate environmental protection have fallen short, and regulations have not been
enforced strongly. Enforcement does not imply effectiveness, though--even if regulations were strictly
enforced, many industries would be unable to comply: when new revised environmental regulations were
implemented in 1999, only 3% of industries were able to pass the test for compliance.
Air Pollution
The level of air pollution in Pakistan's two largest cities, Karachi and Lahore, is estimated to be 20 times
higher than World Health Organization standards, and continuing to rise. Islamabad, the capital, is perpetually
smothered by a thick cloud of smog that hides views of the Margalla Hills that tower over the city's tree-lined
As industry has expanded, factories have emitted more and more toxic effluents into the air. Also, as in other
developing countries, the number of vehicles in Pakistan has swelled in recent years--from 680,000 in 1980 to
3.8 million in 1998. Although the number of motor vehicles (1 per 143 people) in Pakistan is still well below
that of the U.S. (1 per 1.3 people), the 1992 National Conservation Strategy Report claims that the average
Pakistani vehicle emits 25 times as much carbon dioxide as the average U.S. vehicle, as well as 20 times as
many hydrocarbons and more than 3.5 times as many nitrous oxides in grams per kilometer.
With few controls on vehicular emissions and little enforcement, reports show that motor vehicle exhaust
accounts for 90% of the pollutants in Pakistan's air. The government has begun to take notice of the degrading
air quality in the capital, which adversely affects the health of some 16 million people. A recent advertisement
placed by the government in a newspaper warned, "Take care of your tune-ups before the poison in the air
takes care of you."
Many Pakistani environmentalists say that poor fuel quality is also to blame for the country's serious air
pollution problems. Fuel consumption rose by 188% in Pakistan from 1980 to 1998. An estimated 550 metric
tons per year of lead emissions are generated by vehicles in Pakistan burning poor-quality fuel, with the
resulting air pollution adding about $500 million per year in related health care costs.
Various grades of gasoline sold contain 0.35 gm/liter of lead--in comparison, leaded gas in other countries
usually contains no more than 0.15 gm/liter. Dr. Asif Qayyum Qureshi, a research fellow at SDPI, claimed that
the problem of air pollution could largely be solved if the government were to tighten its lax fuel quality
However, the government's 1995 Clean Fuel
Initiative was largely ineffective, and now
authorities are looking at the possibility of using
alternative fuels for vehicles. According to the
latest statistics, more than 275 CNG stations are in
operation and over 275,000 cars have been
converted to CNG, making Pakistan third largest
CNG consumer in the world after Argentina and
Italy. Use of CNG in vehicles is being encouraged
to reduce pressure on petroleum imports, to reduce
carbon emissions and improve the environment.
Energy Consumption
Pakistan's energy consumption has nearly tripled
in the last 20 years. From 0.6 quadrillion Btu in
1980, Pakistan's total energy consumption in 1998 stood at 1.7 quads. Still, Pakistan accounts for only 0.5% of
total world energy consumption.
In terms of per capita energy consumption, Pakistan's level of 12.3 million Btu in 1998 is higher than
Bangladesh's (3.3 million Btu) but virtually on par with India's (12.9 million). In comparison, China's per
capita energy consumption in 1998 was 27.0 million Btu, Iran's was 72.4 million Btu, and Russia's was 177.3
million Btu, while U.S. per capita consumption
was 350.7 million Btu.
Pakistan's energy consumption by sector shows
that nearly half (49%) is attributed to residential.
The industrial sector accounted for most of the
rest with 33.5%, while transportation made up
13.2% and the commercial sector was responsible
for 4.3%. Energy consumption by fuel type
showed that oil made up 43.5%, natural gas
38.3%, and coal just 5.1%.
Carbon and Energy-Related Emissions
Pakistan's carbon emissions in 1998 totaled 26.8
million metric tons, nearly triple the 1980 level of 9.3 million metric tons. Yet, Pakistan accounts for only
0.4% of the world's carbon emissions, and its emissions are relatively low compared to its neighbors in the
region: Iran's emissions have climbed from 33.1 million metric tons of carbon in 1980 to 79.4 million metric
tons in 1998, while India's carbon emissions have jumped from 82.2 million metric tons in 1980 to 252.6
million metric tons in 1998.
Because Pakistan, along with other developing countries, has argued that it needs to be free of emission
ceilings in order to develop its economy, the country has not taken on any emission reduction commitments
under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, nor is Pakistan a signatory to the Kyoto
Pakistan's per capita carbon emissions in 1998 were 0.2 metric tons. In comparison, Bangladesh emitted 0.1
metric tons of carbon per person, while India's level was 0.3 metric tons per capita. China's per capita carbon
emissions level in 1998 was 0.6, Iran's level was 1.3, and the U.S. value was 5.5 metric tons per person.
Sectorally, Pakistan's carbon emissions mainly
came from the industrial sector (45.1%), while
transportation accounted for 27.1%, the
residential sector for 22.3%, and the commercial
sector 5.6%. Of these emissions, oil was
responsible for 56%, with natural gas (35.7%)
and coal (8.3%) making up for the rest.
Energy and Carbon Intensity
Pakistan's energy intensity--energy generated per
dollar spent--is high due to the inefficiencies of
the state-run power sector in generating
electricity and transmitting it across the national
grid. Poor quality infrastructure, as well as power
theft, means that Pakistan does not generate the
amount of electricity it needs to, necessitating
rotating blackouts. In 1993, the World Bank
estimated that 28% of the electricity generated in
Pakistan was diverted illegally in transmission
and distribution. Although the Pakistani
government put this figure at 12%, theft has nonetheless exacerbated the country's high energy intensity.
In 1998 Pakistan's energy intensity stood at 30,700 Btu/$1990--more than double the United States' energy
intensity of 13,400 Btu/$1990 in 1998. In comparison to its neighbors, Pakistan's level of energy intensity was
slightly higher. Bangladesh's 1998 energy intensity was significantly lower at 13,200 Btu/$1990, while Iran
(26,900 Btu/$1990) and India (27,203 Btu/$1990) were just below Pakistan and China (39,100 Btu/$1990) was
higher than Pakistan.
Pakistan's lack of coal reserves has kept the country's carbon intensity down, but the level is still high. Carbon
emissions from vehicles are the main reason behind Pakistan's 1998 carbon intensity of 0.47 metric tons of
carbon/thousand $1990. The comparable U.S. level of carbon intensity was 0.21. Although Iran (0.47) matched
Pakistan's 1998 carbon intensity level, both India (0.57) and China (0.85) were significantly higher. Only
Bangladesh (0.21) was lower than Pakistan in terms of carbon intensity in the south Asian region.
Renewable Energy
Renewable energy consumed in Pakistan in 1997 totaled 1,132 trillion Btu, a 1% increase from 1996.
Hydroelectric power is an important domestic energy source, generating 40% of all electricity in the country,
and a number of new sites are being developed. Although the mountainous north gives Pakistan much
hydroelectric potential, difficulty of access and the high cost of transmission to the populous south make
development of this potential a distant prospect. Nevertheless, the Pakistani government has started working
on feasibility studies for the construction of more dams, with feasibility reports of at least five small dams
expected to be completed by the end of 2000.
Indeed, some development of renewable energy sources has been undertaken precisely because of the
population's difficulty of access. In order to provide electricity to rural areas that would otherwise not have
electricity in the foreseeable future (because they are either too remote and/or too expensive to connect to the
national grid), Pakistan is turning to solar power. Pakistan recently signed a $50-million memorandum of
understanding with WorldWater, an American company, to assemble and manufacture plants to build its solar
modules and electronic controls to power water pumps and electric accessories.
The government hopes that, by harnessing solar power for energy in rural areas, it will reduce villages' reliance
on firewood. Pakistan is still shifting to modern energy sources, with firewood, dung, and bagasse (the woody
residue left over from crushed sugarcane) making up one-third of all energy consumed in Pakistan as recently
as 1988. Pakistan's government is hoping that solar-generated electricity will improve rural life, thereby
reducing the urban migration that is taxing the ability of cities to cope with their own environmental problems.
In 1994 Pakistan had one nuclear power plant, near Karachi. The plant, which was built in 1965 with Canadian
assistance, has demonstrated a poor operating record, which--in addition to concerns in the international
community about Pakistan's possible use of nuclear material for weapons--has contributed to the lack of
further development of the country's nuclear power sector. However, the Chashma Nuclear Power Plant, which
has been built with Chinese assistance but has been repeatedly delayed in coming online, is scheduled for
completion in 2000.
Pakistan in the 21st Century
Following early successes in Pakistan's implementing its National Conservation Strategy, progress has stalled
due to institutional failure on the part of the government policies and practices. In addition to policy
ineffectiveness and corruption, Pakistan has not funded environmental protection efforts adequately. A January
2000 report released by the Ministry of Environment showed that Pakistan currently spends about $17 million
per year on pollution-related cleanup; however, $84 million is needed to correct the country's environmental
problems, and $1.8 billion per year in added health care costs stem from pollution-related causes.
A lack of funding is evident in Pakistan's environmental protection efforts. The former government cited lack
of funds as the reason for delay in establishing the Pakistan Environment Protection Council, an environmental
protection watchdog group that the government had agreed to set up several years ago (but only recently
established). However, the SDPI has estimated that the government allocates just 0.04% of the total public
sector development program budget on the environment, and 70% of the funds for environment are loans from
foreign lenders. The SDPI has estimated the staggering cost of environmental neglect in Pakistan as between
3%-5% of GDP, projected to reach 4%-8% by 2010.
A World Bank pilot project in the province of Balochistan, if successful, could prove a national model for
protecting Pakistan's environment and managing its natural resources. In addition to strengthening
Balochistan's institutions involved with environmental protection and natural resource use so they are better
able to undertake their responsibilities, the project seeks to empower local communities and involve them in
the design and implementation of natural resources' development and management. The project also will work
to improve provincial natural resources use policies so that natural resources are used in an efficient and
sustainable manner, publicize environmental issues, and implement high priority operations and pilot programs
to rehabilitate and develop damaged natural resources.
The World Bank's pilot programs are designed according to the objectives and strategies of Pakistan's National
Conservation Strategy. However, Pakistan's previous environmental record is poor, and the country has not
been able to back up its commitment to environmental protection with action until now. It is clear that Pakistan
will need to place greater emphasis on environmental protection in order to stem the country's environmental
degradation and safeguard citizens' health.
Pakistan's attempt to raise the living standards of its citizens has meant that economic development has largely
taken precedence over environmental issues. Unchecked use of hazardous chemicals, vehicle emissions, and
industrial activity has contributed to a number of environmental and health hazards, chief among them being
water pollution. Much of the country suffers from a lack of potable water due to industrial waste and
agricultural runoff that contaminates drinking water supplies. Poverty and high population growth have
aggravated, and to a certain extent, caused, these environmental problems.
Although Pakistan is renowned for its mountain ranges and areas of untouched wilderness, the country passed
legislation to protect its environment only in the past 10 years. Environmental groups have questioned the
country's commitment to environmental protection, pointing to the decision in August 1999 to allow oil and
gas exploration in Kirthar National Park, the country's oldest national wildlife park, by a multi-national
In the cities, widespread use of low-quality fuel, combined with a dramatic expansion in the number of
vehicles on Pakistani roads, has led to significant air pollution problems. Although Pakistan's energy
consumption is still low by world standards, lead and carbon emissions are major air pollutants in urban
centers such as Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad.
Theft or diversion of electricity in transmission, as well as a lack of energy efficiency standards, have
contributed to Pakistan's high energy and carbon intensities. To increase energy efficiency, the country is
stepping up its use of renewable energy sources to bring electricity to rural areas. As urbanization continues
and the population grows at a rapid rate, in the 21st century Pakistan will need to confront its environmental
problems in order to safeguard the health of it citizens.
EPA Sindh presently is working on a project “ Vehicular Emissions Control Programme” (VECoP). The aim is
initiation of a sustainable campaign for monitoring vehicles that could be classifies as polluting, both in terms
of emissions and noise levels. Field monitoring teams will be formed at three cities (Karachi, Hyderabad and
Sukkur) for monitoring the traffic at various pre-selected locations for identifying and penalizing the vehicles
emitting smoke from their exhaust and producing noise that seems to be in excess to the premisible limits.
Beside field monitoring teams, the Green Squads for Vehicluar Emission Testing Station (VETS) will also be
established. Each Green Squad will include a nominee from SEPA (inspector), a field analyst, inspector, and
necessary persons from traffic or other law enforcing agencies.
President: General Pervaiz Musharraf (President since July 2001; Chief Executive from October 1999.)
Independence: August 14, 1947 (from UK)
Population (7/01E): 144.6 million
Location/Size: Southern Asia/310,500 square miles (about twice the size of California)
Major Cities: Islamabad (capital), Karachi, Lahore, Faisalabad
Languages: Urdu (national/official), English (official), Punjabi, Sindhi, Pashtu, Baloch
Ethnic Groups: Punjabi, Sindhi, Pashtun (Pathan), Baloch, Muhajir (immigrants from India and their
Religions: Muslim, 97% (Sunni 77%, Shia 20%); Christian, Hindu, and other, 3%
Defense (8/98): Army (520,000); Air Force (45,000); Navy (22,000); Paramilitary Forces (247,000)
Currency: Pakistani Rupee
Average Exchange Rate (2/27/02): U.S.$1 = 62.9 rupees
Gross Domestic Product (GDP, market exchange rates, 2001E): $56.8 billion
Real GDP Growth Rate (2001E): 3.5% (2002F): 5.4%
Inflation Rate (2001E): 4.1% (2002F): 5.2%
Current Account Balance (2001E): -$1.9 billion
Merchandise Trade Balance (2001E): -$1.6 billion
Total External Debt (2001E): $34.1 billion
Major Trading Partners: United States, Japan, Germany, United Kingdom, and Saudi Arabia
Major Export Products: Raw cotton and textiles; rice; leather manufactures
Major Import Products: Petroleum; machinery and transport equipment; food
Proven Oil Reserves (1/1/02E): 298 million barrels
Oil Production (2001E): 57,000 barrels per day (bbl/d), of which 53,000 bbl/d was crude oil
Oil Consumption (2001E): 359,000 bbl/d
Net Oil Imports (1999E): 302,000 bbl/d
Crude Oil Refining Capacity (1/1/02E): 238,850 bbl/d
Natural Gas Reserves (1/1/02E): 25.1 trillion cubic feet (Tcf)
Natural Gas Production (1999E): 0.8 Tcf
Natural Gas Consumption (1999E): 0.8 Tcf
Coal Production (1999E): 3.8 million short tons (Mmst)
Coal Consumption (1999E): 4.9 Mmst
Net Coal Imports (1999E): 1.1 Mmst
Recoverable Coal Reserves (12/31/96E): 3.2 billion short tons
Electric Generation Capacity (1/1/99E): 17.0 gigawatts (71% thermal, 28% hydro, 1% nuclear)
Electricity Generation (1999E): 62 billion kilowatthours
Total Energy Consumption (1999E): 1.8 quadrillion Btu* (0.47% of world total energy consumption)
Energy-Related Carbon Emissions (1999E): 27.9 million metric tons of carbon (0.45% of world total carbon
Per Capita Energy Consumption (1999E): 12.5 million Btu (vs. U.S. value of 355.8 million Btu)
Per Capita Carbon Emissions (1999E): 0.2 metric tons of carbon (vs. U.S. value of 5.5 metric tons of
Energy Intensity (1999E): 31,193 Btu/$1990 (vs U.S. value of 12,638 Btu/$1990)**
Carbon Intensity (1999E): 0.48 metric tons of carbon/thousand $1990 (vs U.S. value of 0.19 metric
tons/thousand $1990)**
Sectoral Share of Energy Consumption (1998E): Residential (48.8%), Industrial (33.4%), Transportation
(13.3%), Commercial (4.5%)
Sectoral Share of Carbon Emissions (1998E): Industrial (44.9%), Transportation (27.2%), Residential
(22.2%), Commercial (5.7%)
Fuel Share of Energy Consumption (1999E): Oil (41.9%), Natural Gas (40.0%), Coal (5.0%)
Fuel Share of Carbon Emissions (1999E): Oil (54.6%), Natural Gas (37.4%), Coal (8.0%)
Renewable Energy Consumption (1998E): 1,145 trillion Btu* (1% increase from 1997)
Number of People per Motor Vehicle (1998E): 125 (vs. U.S. value of 1.3)
Status in Climate Change Negotiations: Non-Annex I country under the United Nations Framework
Convention on Climate Change (ratified June 1st, 1994). Not a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol.
Major Environmental Issues: Air pollution from industrial units and vehicles, Water pollution from raw
sewage, industrial wastes, and agricultural runoff; limited natural fresh water resources; a majority of the
population does not have access to potable water; deforestation; soil erosion and desertification.
Major International Environmental Agreements: A party to Conventions on Biodiversity, Climate Change,
Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Nuclear
Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution and Wetlands . Has signed, but not ratified, Marine Life
* The total energy consumption statistic includes petroleum, dry natural gas, coal, net hydro, nuclear,
geothermal, solar, wind, wood and waste electric power. The renewable energy consumption statistic is based
on International Energy Agency (IEA) data and includes hydropower, solar, wind, tide, geothermal, solid
biomass and animal products, biomass gas and liquids, industrial and municipal wastes. Sectoral shares of
energy consumption and carbon emissions are also based on IEA data.
**GDP based on EIA International Energy Annual 1999
Organization: Oil and Gas Development Corporation (OGDC), a state company, handles oil and gas
exploration and development; Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) supplies electricity to most
of the country; Karachi Electric Supply Corporation Limited (KESC) serves the greater Karachi metropolitan
area; Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) operates one nuclear power plant
Major Foreign Energy Company Involvement: AES, Atlantic Richfield, British National Power, Coastal
Power, Gaz de France, Total, General Electric, Lasmo Oil (U.K.), Marubeni (Japan), ExxonMobil, Monument
Oil & Gas, Premier Oil, Royal Dutch Shell, Xenal (Saudi Arabia)
Major Ports: Gwadar, Karachi, Muhammed bin Qasim, Ormaro
Major Gas Fields: Bhit, Dhodak, Kadanwari, Mari, Prikoh, Qadipur, Sawan, Sui
Major Oil Fields: Dhurnal, Fimkasser, Liari, Mazari, Thora
Major Pipelines: Sui Northern Gas Pipeline; Sui Southern Gas Pipeline; Pak-Arab Refinery Company
(PARCO) petroleum product pipeline
Major Refineries (Capacity): Pak-Arab Refinery near Multan (100,000 bbl/d); Attock Refinery in
Rawalpindi (35,000 bbl/d), National Refinery in Korangi (62,050 bbl/d), Pakistan Refinery Ltd. in Karachi
(46,300 bbl/d)
Irfanullah Tunio
Deputy Director (Monitoring)
Environmental Protection Agency
ST-2/1, Sector 23, Korangi Industrial Area,
Karachi, Pakistan
Phone: +92-21-5065637
Fax: +92-21-5065940
Email: [email protected] [email protected]