B. Socio-cultural environment
Industry is a major economic activity in NWFP. The province only has a small industrial base, but during the past 10 to 15 years new industries have been established, albeit at a slow pace. From only 11 industrial units in 1947, today the province has nearly 1,500 industrial units employing 60,000 people. Because of the lack of land-use planning and zoning, the units are haphazardly distributed, situated in and around the major cities and towns. The industrial sector evolved from an initial focus on consumer goods followed by a transition to the production of more sophisticated goods. At present, 25 per cent of the industrial units are in the food sector, and an equal number are textile industries. Other industries include chemicals, mineral products, and wood and paper.
The Sarhad Development Authority (SDA) plans and promotes industries and commercial ventures. At present, the government is following a policy of deregulation, decentralization and privatization, leading to disinvestment in the public sector except for joint ventures. SDA is managing several large projects and industrial estates in the province, with large concentrations in and around Peshawar, Charsadda, Nowshera, Gadoon Amazai and Haripur. In rural areas, the government has announced an incentive package for industrial development. Moreover, there are several small industrial estates in different parts of the province, set up and are administered by the NWFP Small Industrial Board. While government incentives have attracted some industries, most of the industrial estates have yet to be fully developed. The main constraint is the locational disadvantage of NWFP in terms of its remoteness from the big market, raw material supplies and the sea port. The policy of virtually "no regulation" has, however, resulted in the establishment of industrial units on all types of sites with little consideration for the environment. Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Initial Environmental Examination (IEE) procedures have not yet been regulated and properly institutionalized. Even on the industrial estates, there is no requirement or obligation to install waste treatment, recycling or safe disposal facilities. Industrial pollution in NWFP may not be great, but severe pollution has been observed locally around industrial units and estates. Untreated wastes are discharged and dumped on land, into water bodies such as the Kabul, Indus and Swat rivers, degrading the aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems of the province.