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Pakistan Environmental Protection Act (PEPA), 1997

 

        The Pakistan Environmental Protection Act 1997 was passed by the National Assembly of Pakistan on September 3, 1997, and by the Senate of Pakistan on November 7, 1997. The Act received the assent of the President of Pakistan on December 3, 1997. The text of the Environmental Protection Act 1997 is as follows  :  

 

Act No. XXXIV of 1997

 

An Act to provide for the protection, conservation, rehabilitation and improvement of the environment, for the prevention and control of pollution, and promotion of sustainable development. Whereas it is expedient to provide for the protection, conservation, rehabilitation and improvement of the environment, prevention and control of pollution, promotion of sustainable development and for matters connected therewith and incidental thereto;  It is hereby enacted as follows  :

 

 

(1) Short Title, Extent and Commencement.-

 

(1) This Act may be called the Environmental Protection Act 1997. 

 

(2) It extends to the whole of Pakistan.

 

(3) It shall come into force at once.

 

 

(2) Definitions.-

 

In this Act, unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or context  : 

 

          (i) "adverse environmental effect" means impairment of, or damage to, the environment and includes  :

 

        (a) impairment of, or damage to, human health and safety or to biodiversity or property ; 

                                                                                                                    

        (b) pollution ; and 

 

 

        (c) any adverse environmental effect as may be specified in the regulation. 

 

 

                (ii) "agricultural waste" means waste from farm and agricultural activities including poultry, cattle farming, animal husbandry, residues from the use of fertilizers, pesticides and other farm chemicals ; 

 

 

                (iii) "air pollutant" means any substance that causes pollution of air and includes soot, smoke, dust particles, odor, light, electro-magnetic, radiation, heat, fumes, combustion exhaust, exhaust gases, noxious gases, hazardous substances and radioactive substances ; 

 

 

                (iv) "biodiversity" or "biological diversity" means the variability among living organizations from all sources, including inter alia terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and ecological complexes of which they are part ; this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems ; 

 

 

                (v) "council" means the Pakistan Environmental Protection Council established under section 3 ; 

 

 

                (vi) "discharge" means spilling, leaking, pumping, depositing, seeping, releasing, flowing out, pouring, emitting, emptying or dumping ; 

 

 

                (vii) "ecosystem" means a dynamic complex of plant, animal and micro-organism communities and their non-living environment interacting as a functional unit ; 

 

 

                (viii) "effluent" means any material in solid, liquid or gaseous form or combination thereof being discharged from industrial activity or any other source and includes a slurry, suspension or vapour ;

 

 

                (ix) "emission standards" means the permissible standards established by the Federal Agency or a Provincial Agency for emission of air pollutants and noise and for discharge of effluent and waste ;

 

 

                (x) "environment" means –

 

 

            (a) air, water and land ; 

            (b) all layers of the atmosphere ; 

            (c) all organic and inorganic matter and living organisms ; 

            (d) the ecosystem and ecological relationships ; 

            (e) buildings, structures, roads, facilities and works ; 

            (f) all social and economic conditions affecting community life ; and 

            (g) the inter-relationships between any of the factors in sub-clauses (a) to (f) 

 

                (xi) "environmental impact assessment" means an environmental study comprising  collection of data, prediction of qualitative and quantitative impacts, comparison of alternatives, evaluation of preventive, mitigatory and compensatory measures, formulation of environmental management and training plans and monitoring arrangements, and framing of recommendations and such other components as may be prescribed ;

 

 

                (xii) " Environmental Magistrate" means the Magistrate of the First Class appointed under section 24 ; 

 

 

                (xiii) "Environmental Tribunal" means the Environmental Tribunal constituted under section 20 ;

 

 

                (xiv) "Exclusive Economic Zone" shall have the same meaning as defined in the Territorial Waters and Maritime Zones Act, 1976 (LXXXII of 1976) ;  

 

 

                (xv) "factory" means any premises in which industrial activity is being undertaken ;

 

 

                (xvi) "Federal Agency" means the Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency established under section 5, or any Government Agency, local council or local authority exercising the powers and functions of the Federal Agency ;

 

 

                (xvii) "Government Agency" includes- 

 

 

        (a) a division, department, attached department, bureau, section, commission, board, office or unit of the Federal Government or a Provincial Government ;

 

 

        (b) a development or a local authority, company or corporation established or controlled by the Federal Government or Provincial Government ;

 

 

        (c) a Provincial Environmental Protection Agency ; and 

 

 

        (d) any other body defined and listed in the Rules of Business of the Federal Government or a Provincial Government ;

 

 

                (xviii) "hazardous substance" means- 

 

 

        (a) a substance or mixture of substance, other than a pesticide as defined in the Agricultural Pesticide Ordinance, 1971 (II of 1971), which, by reason of its chemical activity is toxic, explosive, flammable, corrosive, radioactive or other characteristics causes, or is likely to cause, directly or in combination with other matters, an adverse environmental effect ; and

 

 

        (b) any substance which may be prescribed as a hazardous substance ;

 

 

                (xix) "hazardous waste" means waste which is or which contains a hazardous substance or which may be prescribed as hazardous waste, and includes hospital waste and nuclear waste ; 

 

 

                (xx) "historic waters" means such limits of the waters adjacent to the land territory of Pakistan as may be specified by notification under section 7 of the Territorial Waters and Maritime Zones Act, 1976 (LXXXII of 1976) ; 

 

 

                (xxi) "hospital waste" includes waste medical supplies and materials of all kinds, and waste blood, tissue, organs and other parts of the human and animal bodies, from hospitals, clinics and laboratories ; 

 

 

                (xxii) "industrial activity" means any operation or process for manufacturing, making, formulating, synthesizing, altering, repairing,          ornamenting, finishing, packing or otherwise treating any article or substance with a view to its  use, sale, transport, delivery or disposal, or for mining, for oil and gas exploration and development, or for pumping ater or sewage, or for generating, transforming or transmitting power or for any other industrial or commercial purpose ;

 

 

                (xxiii) "industrial waste" means waste resulting from an industrial activity ; 

 

 

                (xxiv) "initial  environmental examination" means a preliminary environmental review of the reasonably foreseeable qualitative and quantitative impacts on the environment of a proposed project to determine whether it is likely to cause an environmental effect for requiring preparation of an environmental impact assessment ; 

 

 

                (xxv) "local authority" means any agency set-up or designated by the Federal Government or a Provincial Government by notification in the official Gazette to be a local authority for the purposes of this Act ;

 

 

                (xxvi) "local council" means a local council constituted or established under a law relating to local government ; 

 

 

                (xxvii) "motor vehicle" means any mechanically propelled vehicle adapted for use upon land whether its power of propulsion is transmitted thereto from an external or internal source, and includes a chassis to which a body has not been attached, and a trailer, but does not include a vehicle running upon fixed rails ; 

 

 

                (xxviii) "municipal waste" includes sewage, refuse, garbage, waste from abattoirs, sludge and human excreta and the like ; 

 

 

                (xxix) "National Environmental Quality Standards" means standards established by the Federal Agency under clause (e) of sub-section (1) of section 6 and approved by the Council under clause (c) of sub-section (1) of section 4 ; 

 

 

                (xxx) "noise" means the intensity, duration and character from all sources, and includes vibrations ; 

 

 

                (xxxi) "nuclear waste" means waste from any nuclear reactor or nuclear or other nuclear energy system, whether or not such waste is radioactive ; 

 

 

                (xxxii) "person" means any natural person or legal entity and includes an individual, firm, association, partnership, society, group, company, corporation, co-operative society, Government Agency, non-governmental organization, community-based organization, village organization, local council or local authority and, in the case of a vessel, the master or other person having for the time being the charge or control of the vessel ; 

 

 

                (xxxiii) "pollution" means the contamination of air, land or water by the discharge or emission or effluents or wastes or air pollutants or noise or other matter which either directly or indirectly or in combination with other discharges or substances alters unfavourably the chemical, physical, biological, radiational, thermal or radiological or aesthetic properties of the air, land or water or which may, or is likely to make the air, land or water unclean, noxious or impure or injurious, disagreeable or detrimental to the health, safety, welfare or property of persons or harmful to biodiversity ; 

 

 

                (xxxiv) "prescribed" means prescribed by rules made under this Act ;

 

 

                (xxxv) "project" means any activity, plan, scheme, proposal or undertaking involving any change in the environment and includes ; 

 

 

        (a) construction or use of buildings or other works ; 

 

 

        (b) construction or use of roads or other transport systems ; 

 

 

        (c) construction or operation of factories or other installations ; 

 

 

        (d) mineral prospecting, mining, quarrying, stone-crushing, drilling and the like ; 

 

 

        (e) any change of land use or water use ; and 

 

 

        (f) alteration, expansion, repair, decommissioning or abandonment of existing buildings or other works, roads or other transport               systems ; factories or other installations ; 

 

 

                (xxxvi) "proponent" means the person who proposes or intends to undertake a project ;

 

 

                (xxxvii) "Provincial Agency" means a Provincial Environmental Protection Agency established under section 8 ;

 

 

                (xxxviii) "regulations" means regulations made under this Act ; 

 

 

                (xxxix)  "rules" means rules made under this Act ; 

 

 

                (xl) "sewage" means liquid or semi-solid wastes and sludge from sanitary conveniences, kitchens, laundries, washing and similar activities and from any sewerage system or sewage disposal works ; 

 

 

                (xli) "standards" means qualitative and quantitative standards for discharge of effluents and wastes and for emission of air pollutants and noise either for general applicability or for a particular area, or from a particular  production process, or for a particular product, and includes the National Environmental Quality Standards, emission standards and other standards established under this Act and the rules and regulations made thereunder ;

 

 

                (xlii) "sustainable development" means development that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs ; 

 

 

                (xliii) "territorial waters" shall have the same meaning as defined in the Territorial Waters and Maritime Zones Act, 1976 (LXXXII of 1976) ; 

 

 

                (xliv) "vessel" includes anything made for the conveyance by water of human beings or of goods ; and 

 

 

                (xlv) "waste" means any substance or object which has been, is being or is intended to be, discarded or disposed of, and includes liquid          waste, solid waste, waste gases, suspended waste, industrial waste, agricultural waste, nuclear waste, municipal waste, hospital waste, used polyethylene bags and residues from the incineration of all types of waste. 

 

 

 

(3) Establishment of the Pakistan Environmental Protection Council.- 

 

(1) The Federal Government shall, by notification in the official Gazette, establish a Council to be known as the Pakistan Environmental Protection Council consisting of ; 

 

          (i) Prime Minister or such other person as the Prime Chairperson Minister may nominate in this behalf.

 

 

          (ii) Minister Incharge of the Ministry or Division Vice Chairperson dealing with the subject of environment.

 

 

          (iii) Chief Ministers of the Provinces. Members 

 

 

          (iv) Ministers Incharge of the subject of environment in the provinces. Members 

 

 

          (v) Such other persons not exceeding thirty-five as the Federal Members Government may appoint, of which at least twenty shall be non -official including five representatives of the Chambers of Commerce and Industry and Industrial Associations and one or more representatives of the Chambers of Agriculture, the medical and legal professions, trade unions, and non-governmental organizations concerned with the environment and development, and scientists, technical experts and educationists.

 

 

          (vi) Secretary to the Government of Pakistan, in-charge of Member/Secretary the Ministry or Division dealing with the subject of environment.

 

 

 

(2) The Members of the Council, other than ex–officio members, shall be appointed in accordance with the prescribed procedure and shall hold office for a term of three years. 

 

(3) The Council shall frame its own rules of procedure.

 

(4) The Council shall hold meetings as and when necessary, but not less than two meetings shall be held in a year.

 

          (5) The Council may constitute committees of its members and entrust them with such functions as it may deem fit, and the recommendations of the committees shall be submitted to the Council for approval. 

 

          (6) The Council or any of its committees may invite any technical expert or representative of any Government Agency or non-governmental organization or other person possessing specialized knowledge of any subject for assistance in performance of its functions. 

 

 

(4) Function and Powers of the Council.-

 

(1) The Council shall- 

 

        (a) co-ordinate and supervise enforcement of the provisions of this Act ;

 

 

        (b) approve comprehensive national environmental policies and ensure their implementation within the framework of a national conservation strategy as may be approved by the Federal Government from time to time ; 

 

 

        (c) approve the National Environmental Quality Standards ; 

 

 

        (d) provide guidelines for the protection and conservation of species, habitats, and biodiversity in general, and for the conservation of renewable and non-renewable resources ; 

 

 

        (e) coordinate integration of the principles and concerns of sustainable development into national development plans and policies ; and 

 

 

        (f) consider the National Environment Report and give appropriate directions thereon. 

 

 

(2) The Council may, either itself or on the request of any person or organization, direct the Federal Agency or any Government Agency to prepare, submit, promote or implement projects for the protection, conservation, rehabilitation and improvement of the environment, the prevention and control of pollution, and the sustainable development of resources, or to undertake research in any specified aspect of environment. 

 

(5) Establishment of the Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency.-

 

(1) The Federal Government shall, by notification in the official Gazette, establish the Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency, to exercise the powers and perform the functions assigned to it under the provisions of this Act and the rules and regulations made thereunder. 

 

(2) The Federal Agency shall be headed by a Director General, who shall be appointed by the Federal Government on such terms and conditions as it may determine. 

 

(3) The Federal Agency shall have such administrative, technical and legal staff as the Federal Government may specify, to be appointed in accordance with such procedure as may be prescribed. 

 

(4) The powers and function of the Federal Agency shall be exercised and performed by the Director General. 

 

(5) The Director General may, be general or special order, delegate any of these powers and functions to staff appointed under sub-section (3).

 

 (6) For assisting the Federal Agency in the discharge of its functions, the Federal Government shall establish Advisory Committees for various sectors, and appoint as members thereof eminent representatives of the relevant sector, educational institutions, research institutes and non-governmental organizations. 

 

(6) Functions of the Federal Agency.-

 

(1) The Federal Agency shall- 

 

        (a) administer and implement the provisions of this Act and the rules and regulations made thereunder ; 

 

 

        (b) prepare, in coordination with the appropriate Government Agency and in consultation with the concerned sectoral Advisory Committees, national environmental policies for approval by the Council ; 

 

 

        (c) take all necessary measures for the implementation of the national environmental policies approved by the Council ;

 

 

        (d) prepare and publish an annual National Environment Report on the state of the environment ; 

 

 

        (e) prepare or revise, and establish the National Environment Quality Standards with approval of the Council; Provided that before seeking approval of the Council, the Federal Agency shall publish the proposed National Environmental Quality Standards for public opinion in accordance with the prescribed procedure ; 

 

 

        (f) ensure enforcement of the National Environmental Quality Standards ; 

 

 

        (g) establish standards for the quality of the ambient air, water and land, by notification in the official Gazette, in consultation with the Provincial Agency concerned ; 

 

 

            Provided that

 

            (i) different standards for discharge or emission from different sources and for different areas and conditions may be specified ; 

 

(ii) where standards are less stringent than the National Environmental Quality Standards, prior approval of the Council shall be obtained ;

 

(iii) certain areas, with the approval of the Council, may exclude from carrying out specific activities, projects from the application of such standards ; 

 

        (h) co-ordinate environmental policies and programmes nationally and internationally ; 

 

 

        (i) establish systems and procedures for surveys, surveillance, monitoring, measurement, examination, investigation, research, inspection and audit to prevent and control pollution, and to estimate the costs of cleaning up pollution and rehabilitating the environment in various sectors; 

 

 

        (j) take measures to promote research and the development of science and technology which may contribute to the prevention of pollution, protection of the environment, and sustainable development ; 

 

 

        (k) certify one or more laboratories as approved laboratories for conducing tests and analysis and one or more research institutes as environmental research institutes for conducting research and investigation, for the purposes of this Act ;

 

 

        (l) identify the needs for, and initiate legislation in various sectors of the environment ; 

 

 

        (m) render advice and assistance in environmental matters, including such information and data available with it as may be required for carrying out the purposes of this Act ; 

 

 

 

Provided that the disclosure of such information shall be subject to the restrictions contained in the proviso to sub- section (3) of section 12 ; 

 

        (n) assist the local councils, local authorities, Government Agencies and other persons to implement schemes for the proper disposal of wastes so as to ensure compliance with the standards established by it ;

 

 

        (o) provide information and guidance to the public on environmental matters ; 

 

 

        (p) recommend environmental courses, topics, literature and books for incorporation in the curricula and syllabi feducational institutions ;

 

 

        (q) promote public education and awareness of environmental issues through mass media and other means, including seminars and workshops ; 

 

 

        (r) specify safeguards for the prevention of accidents and disasters which may cause pollution, collaborate with the concerned person in the preparation of contingency plans for control of such accidents and disasters, and co-ordinate implementation of such plans ;

 

 

        (s) encourage the formation and working of non-governmental organizations, community organizations and village organizations to prevent and control pollution and promote sustainable development ; 

 

 

        (t) take or cause to be taken all necessary measures for the protection, conservation, rehabilitation and improvement of the environment, prevention and control of pollution and promotion of sustainable development; and (u) perform any function which the Council may assign to it. 

 

 

          (2) The Federal Agency may-

 

        (a) undertake inquiries or investigation into environmental issues, either of its own accord or upon complaint from any person or organization ;

 

 

        (b) request any person to furnish any information or data relevant to its functions ; 

 

 

        (c) initiate with the approval of the Federal Government, requests for foreign assistance in support of the purposes  of this Act and enter into arrangements with foreign agencies or organizations for the exchange of material or information and participate in international seminars or meetings ; 

 

 

        (d) recommend to the Federal Government the adoption of financial and fiscal programmes, schemes or measures for achieving environmental objectives and goals and the purposes of this Act, including  : 

 

 

        (i) incentives, prizes, awards, subsidies, tax exemptions, rebates and depreciation allowances ; and

 

 

        (ii) taxes, duties, cesses and other levies ;  

 

 

        (e) establish and maintain laboratories to help in the performance of its functions under this Act and to conduct research in various aspects of the environment and provide or arrange necessary assistance for establishment of similar laboratories in the private sector ; and 

 

 

        (f) provide or arrange, in accordance with such procedures as may be prescribed, financial assistance for projects designed to facilitate the discharge of its functions. 

 

 

(7) Powers of the Federal Agency.-

 

Subject to the provisions of this Act, the Federal Agency may- 

 

        (a) lease, purchase, acquire, own, hold, improve, use or otherwise deal in and with any property both movable and immovable ; 

 

 

        (b) sell, convey, mortgage, pledge, exchange or otherwise dispose of its property and assets; 

 

 

        (c) fix and realize fees, rates and charges for rendering any service or providing any facility, information or data under this Act or the rules and regulations made thereunder ; 

 

 

        (d) enter into contracts, execute instruments, incur liabilities and do all acts or things necessary for proper management and conduct of its business ; 

 

 

        (e) appoint with the approval of the Federal Government and in accordance with such procedures as may be prescribed, such advisers, experts and consultants as it considers necessary for the efficient performance of its functions on such terms and conditions as it may deem fit ; 

 

 

        (f) summon and enforce the attendance of any person and require him to supply any information or document needed for the conduct of any enquiry or investigation into any environmental issue ; 

 

 

        (g) enter and inspect and under the authority of a search warrant issued by the Environmental Tribunal or Environmental Magistrate, search at any reasonable time, any land, building, premises, vehicle or vessel or other  place where or in which, there are reasonable grounds to believe that an offence under this Act has been or is being committed ; 

 

 

        (h) take samples of any materials, products, articles or substances or of the effluents, wastes or air pollutants being discharged or emitted or of air, water or land in the vicinity of the discharge or emission ; 

 

 

        (i) arrange for test and analysis of the samples at a certified laboratory ; 

 

 

        (j) confiscate any article used in the commission of the offence where the offender is not known or cannot be found within a reasonable time : 

 

 

Provided that the power under clauses (f), (h), (i) and (j) shall be exercised in accordance with the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 (Act V of 1898), or the rules made under this Act and under the direction of the Environmental Tribunal or Environmental Magistrate ; and

 

        (k) establish a National Environmental Coordination Committee comprising the Director- General as its chairman and the Director-Generals of the Provincial Environmental Protection Agencies and such other persons as the Federal Government may appoint as its members to exercise such powers and perform such functions as may be delegated or assigned to it by the Federal Government for carrying out the purposes of this Act and for ensuring inter–provincial co-ordination in environmental policies ; 

 

 

 

(8) Establishment, Powers and Functions of the Provincial Environmental Protection Agencies.- 

 

           (1) Every Provincial Government shall, by notification in the official Gazette, establish an Environmental Protection Agency, to exercise such powers and perform such functions as may be delegated to it by the Provincial Government under sub-section (2) of section 26. 

 

 

           (2) The Provincial Agency shall be headed by a Director-General who shall be appointed by the Provincial Government on such terms and conditions as it may determine. 

 

 

           (3) The Provincial Agency shall have such administrative, technical and legal staff as the Provincial Government may specify, to be appointed in accordance with such procedure as may be prescribed. 

 

 

           (4) The powers and functions of the Provincial Agency shall be exercised and performed by the Director-General. 

 

 

           (5) The Director-General may, by general or special order, delegate any of these powers and functions to staff appointed under sub-section (3). 

 

 

           (6) For assistance of the Provincial Agency in the discharge of its functions, the Provincial Government shall establish sectoral Advisory Committees for various sectors and appoint members from amongst eminent representatives of the relevant sector, educational institutions, research institutes and non-governmental organizations. 

 

 

(9) Establishment of the Provincial Sustainable Development Funds.-

 

  

        (1) There shall be established in each Province a Sustainable Development Fund. 

 

 

        (2) The Provincial Sustainable Development Fund shall be derived from the following sources, namely ;

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