As of July 2021, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of Punjab, Pakistan has announced the draft Hazardous Substances Rules 2020 and it is in discussion. The proposed rules cover hazardous substances as defined below, and stipulate provisions for licensing, submission of environmental impact assessment reports, implementation of hazardous substance handling precautions, packaging and labeling requirements, and waste management. It is proposed that the regulations will enter into force upon publication.
Definitions of Hazardous Chemical/Substances (referred from Art. 2)
- A substance or mixture of substance, other than a pesticides as defined in Agriculture Pesticides Ordinance, 1971 (II of 1971), which, by reason of its chemical activity or toxic, explosive, flammable, corrosive, radioactive or other characteristics causes, or likely to cause, directly or in combination with other matters, an adverse environmental effects ; and
- Any substance which may be prescribed as a hazardous substance as per PEP ACT, 1997;
- Any chemical/substance which is enlisted in Schedule-I part A excluding part B
- Radio Active substances will be managed by Atomic Energy Commission.
- Conditions of Stockholm Convention applicable to all types of Persistent Organic pollutants.
- Obtaining a license
Applications (Form A) for licenses under Section 14 of the Pakistan Environmental Protection Act, 1997 shall be submitted accompanied with the required documents (see Art. 15 for Safety Plan and Art. 16 for Waste Management Plan) to the Director General of Provincial Agency Punjab. In case of import of hazardous substances, application shall be made to the Joint Secretary, International Cooperation, Ministry of Climate Change for approval. Further, import of hazardous and other wastes into Punjab for disposal purposes shall be prohibited.
- Submission of Environmental Impact Assessment Reports
An environmental impact assessment report on the industrial activity of producing, collecting, transporting, treating, disposing, storing, or handling hazardous substances shall be attached to the license application. The report shall be prepared in accordance with the guidelines “Guidelines for the Preparation and Review of Environmental Reports”.
- Safety measures for handling hazardous substances
The safety precautions specified in Art. 10 are to be communicated to workers in industrial activities that produce, collect, transport, treat, dispose, store or handle hazardous substances. In addition, Art. 11 stipulates requirements for workers handling hazardous substances, including age limits, information management, training, provision and cleanliness of personal protective equipment, and emergency medical facilities equipped with necessary antidotes (see Schedule IV for facility requirements).
- Packaging and labeling
Containers of hazardous substances shall be secured against spillage during storage, transport and use. In addition, the following information shall be printed on the containers: name of the hazardous substance, name, address and license number of the licensee, net quantity, date of manufacture and expiration date, warning signs such as “DANGER”, instructions for returning and disposing of empty containers, and basic instructions describing immediate steps to be taken in case of accident or emergency.
- Reporting of Accidents
In the event of an accident occurring inside or outside the premises while manufacturing, loading, supplying, storing, selling, or transporting hazardous substances, the licensee shall immediately notify the In-charge District Officer and submit a report in accordance with the form in Schedule V within 24 hours (and weekly thereafter). Government agencies with relevant remedies should also be notified. If it is found to be a serious incident, the Director General, Punjab Environmental Protection Agency will take legal action against the licensee in accordance with the law.
The draft Punjab Hazardous Substances Rules 2020 can be downloaded from the following URL.