Innovative handling on Port Qasim despite high coal imports
KARACHI: “Pakistan International Bulk Terminal’s (PIBT) existing terminal facilities of handling and storage are already operating at international standards and it is the first dirty bulk cargo handling facility in Pakistan to comply with World Bank’s standards of environment pollution control,” this was stated by Chief Executive, PIBT, Sharique Azim Siddiqui. Even with increase in the usage of coal as a major fuel for industries and power generation, the handling of imported coal at Port Qasim gets even better with no threat to the environment and health of the citizens of Karachi. In this respect, Shariq added, PIBT has developed an Environmental Management Plan (EMP) in compliance with applicable laws and regulations of Pakistan, IFC’s performance standards and World Bank Group Environment Health and Safety Guidelines. Some key aspects of the EMP are: Dust emission control; Noise pollution control; Wastewater management; Solid waste Management; Dredge material disposal Management; and Biodiversity conservation & sustainable natural resources management. These aspects of the EMP and the related regulations have been implemented over the course of construction of the terminal, and are monitored and updated regularly. Sharique further said that with regards to environmental conservation PIBT is striving towards the objective of protection and long-term viability of the coastal ecosystems, especially mangroves of the northern creeks of the Indus delta (the area controlled by Port Qasim Authority) through restoration of the degraded mangroves forests in the Indus Delta. “As part of its commitment, PIBT arranges regular maintenance for conservation of the plantation at an area of 500 hectares within Port Qasim jurisdiction through engaging local community laborers,” said Sharique. Besides, the CEO added, they have started plantation and maintenance of mangroves alongside the trestle area on site which will support the dust emission control plan and help sustain the ecosystems of the area. “We are also a founder member of ‘Karachi Conservation’ (a national initiative driven by International Union for Conservation of Nature) in collaboration with PQA and the private sector. “Our objective is promoting biodiversity and environmental conservation in Karachi in general and Port Qasim Area in particular,” said Sharique. It is pertinent to mention here that in June last year, the Honorable Supreme Court had restricted the handling of all the ships carrying imported coal to Pakistan at Karachi Port Trust considering the environmental challenges associated with it and prevalence of unfavorable health conditions for the citizens of Karachi. The SC also ordered to shift all the coal imports to PQA that were earlier being handled at KPT. PQA then used a dedicated dirty cargo handling facility at the port to abide by the rulings of the SC and directed the management of Pakistan International Bulk Terminal Limited (PIBT) to handle all the imports of coal into the country at their terminal with no threat to the environment of the city.