II. ENVIRONMENTAL IMPLICATIONS OF UNSUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
J. Bottlenecks and constraints
The development planning system is highly centralized and bureaucratic, with a top-down approach and little or no involvement of local institutions and the local population in the planning process. While the top-down system may be appropriate for some sectors or for large technical-level projects, it is unlikely to be suitable for programmes that entail sustainable management of local natural resources. In addition, there is a lack of: (a) strong political will or strong legislative support for suitable institutions; (b) adequate financial resources; and (c) qualified staff with clear lines of authority, responsibility and proper coordination. The lack of participation by the local population, NGOs and local institutions is an other critical bottleneck.
There is growing recognition that a major cause of environmental degradation is the lack of good governance. A principal obstacle to sustainable development is not so much the absence of legislation as the absence of good governance and institutions through which the laws can be implemented effectively and consistently. Policies such as NCS and SPCS have yet to be fully implemented, mainly because of the lack of strong political will and the absence of institutional capacity to execute the policies efficiently. The rules of business among those institutions are often outdated, and vulnerable to political abuse and manipulation. There is a lack of coordination and only limited capacity for environmental planning and management. Those who have received international training are very often transferred to field offices or other locations. The technical staff are inadequately qualified in the latest environmental tools and techniques. Duplication, overlapping, haphazard use of resources, a lack of coordination and institutional rifts are other important issues affecting the institutions at the provincial and district/local levels.
Rational planning is not carried out by the Planning, Environment and Development Department or other provincial line departments. The total planning process in the Planning, Environment and Development Department is related to the sanctioning of money for ADPs. ADP formulation and planning is influenced and directed by political heads and other influential people. Participation by the public has not been adopted in the planning process. The line departments do not follow the planning criteria or planning standards, which results in irrational and unsustainable planning. For example, roads are built away from resources and human settlements, while schools and health facilities such as Basic Health Units are built away from population points. Line departments do not prepare long- or medium-term development plans. Under the existing system, the line departments never contact each other prior to the preparation of projects, which results in. delays in project implementation.
The environmental planners and decision makers do not have access to current and extensive well-researched environmental data, particularly those data that are concerned with the ambient environment. At the same time, every department has its own data which do not tally with other sources, making the overall quality of data questionable.
The lack of environmental awareness among the general public, policy makers and business leaders is an other major contributing factor to environmental degradation; particularly in NWFP where the literacy level is low and many people live in marginal circumstances.
Poverty and the lack of improved socio-economic conditions among the population are also constraints to achieving the objective of sustainable development, resulting in a worsening of the environmental degradation in the mountainous ecosystem of NWFP.
IEEs/EIAs are not yet being fully implemented and are not integrated into project planning from the project conception stage. IEEs or EIAs that are carried out are based on a subjective approach and no consideration is given to quantification and monetization of the physical impacts. Therefore, EIAs are still not very effective in NWFP. EPA, which is the agency responsible for reviewing EIAs, has very limited expertise. Local resources such as universities NIPA, Pakistan Council for Scientific Industrial Research (PCSIR), Pakistan Forest Institution and environmental graduates from the University of Peshawar are not utilized usefully as a result of various administrative, social and political factors.
Environmental problems in the urban areas are mainly caused by over-population. In addition, natural growth, rural urban migration and Afghan refugees also contribute to very high urban growth rates. There have been no recent systematic efforts, such as IRDP to halt migration to urban areas by making rural areas more liveable through the provision of employment opportunities, basic amenities and social services.
Much of the rural land is owned by a few landlords who live elsewhere. There is no viable land tenure system that is suitable to the needs of tenants; at the same time, jobs in other sectors are not available in the rural areas. Therefore, people have no option but to move to the cities in NWFP and the other provinces of Pakistan.
The government has failed to reduce the population rate because it has not involved the general population and religious/local level leaders in the family planning programme. A low level of literacy and a lack of an effective information system for people in the productive age group has further aggravated the problem. In addition, no effort is being made to integrate population programmes with other development activities.
Urban planning is not carried out efficiently by the development authorities such as PDA. That has resulted in a worsening of existing environmental problems, such as declining air quality, inefficient solid waste management, unsatisfactory transportation, poor and badly planned urban housing, and the discontinuation of slum upgrading work. Efficient allocation of land for different urban uses and functions is not being carried out. New tools like new towns and green belts, or even land-use planning, are not being introduced for controlling urban growth in NWFP.