SIALKOT-The LWG experts sensitized Sialkot-based tanners to the growing issue of environmental pollution and stressed the need for early compliance with Smart Environmental Management Practices in their factories to overcome the environmental issues.

The foreign experts stated this while addressing the participants of a daylong awareness-raising workshop on “The Best Available Techniques/Smart Environmental Management Practices, Leading to Compliance of LWG,” jointly organised by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and WWF-Pakistan at the auditorium of Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) here on Wednesday.

SCCI President Khawaja Masud Akhtar presided over the workshop. WWF-Pakistan Senior Official Adeel Younas, Project Director Sialkot Tannery Zone Muhammad Atif, local officials of Environment Protection Agency (EPA) and a large number of local tanners attended it.

Mr. Chris Jacklin, International famed expert of Leather Working Group-LWG, briefed the participants about resource efficiency potentials within Sialkot tanneries and how adopting these potentials could lead to compliance of LWG for enhancing capacities of the leather sector.

Mr Chris Jacklin elaborated in detail the Best Available Techniques / Smart Environmental Management Practices to reduce overall energy and water footprint of leather manufacturing, in addition to addressing other relevant environmental issues such as air and noise pollution, and solid waste management.

He said the most relevant techniques to address environmental issues, best performance levels, conditions under which these environmental performance levels might be achieved.

The SCCI president lauded the sincere efforts for modernization of the leather industry of Sialkot as well as helping them to become environmentally compliant. He said that Sialkot and the adjoining areas are facing severe environmental hazards being caused by the tanning industry. The participants also appreciated the role of United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) for helping local leather industry in preparing it for the climate change adaptation capability.

WWF Project Director Muhammad Atif also sensitized the Sialkot based leather manufacturers to the new techniques and practices for compliance international standard to increase the exports of leather products. He said the tanneries would be shifted to Sialkot Tannery Zone, where various facilities like common effluent treatment plant, solid waste disposal site, and common chrome recovery system will soon be provided. The experts also stressed the need for making tanneries in Sialkot compliant to best practices.

The participants expressed the hope that the workshop will help them better understand the process involved in minimizing the waste and cost of production to maintain and enhance the business as well as compliance of Leather Working Group -LWG Standard.

On the occasion, Adeel Younas (Senior Officer of WWF-Pakistan) said that in an effort to address environmental issues, both the UNIDO and WWF-Pakistan are implementing Global Environment Facility (GEF) funded project, titled “Mainstreaming Climate Change Adaptation through Water Resource Management in Leather Industrial Zone Development” in Sialklot. The objective of the project is to overcome environmental hazards caused by the tanning industry and improve the climate change adaptation capability.