The as inadequate monitoring and fines hinder enforcement and

The textile industry is the largest
manufacturing industry and the second largest employment generating sector in
Pakistan. In this paper, we seek to understand why firms in the garment and
textile sector choose to comply with or ignore Pakistan’s environmental regulations
and effluent standards. Based on survey of 60 firms, we find that there are
nine different environmental management practices adopted in the textile
sector. While only 12% of our sample adopted all nine practices, 50% embraced
more than five practices and some 87% of firms adopted at least two
environmental management practices. The most common environmental practice
adopted is evaluation of any chemical hazards. We find that institutional
deficiencies in implementation such as inadequate monitoring and fines hinder
enforcement and compliance. However, non-regulatory pressures from
international customers and competitors act as a major un-official source of
influence. Local factors such as community and local media stressors seem to
have limited impacts. As expected, larger firms are more likely to adopt
environmental management practices relative to medium sized firms. We propose
three strategies to improve environmental compliance – installation of effluent
treatment technology matched with improved monitoring, creating a rating system
to trigger competition among firms and offering firms training and information
services at the district-level.


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Pakistan has a dynamic, vigorous and export
oriented textile industry with a large economic footprint. The textile industry
is the largest manufacturing industry and the second largest employment
generating sector in Pakistan. Notably, Pakistan is the 8th largest exporter of
textile products in Asia, the 4th largest producer of cotton with the third
largest spinning capacity in Asia and contributes 5% to the global spinning
capacity . While the textile sector in Pakistan is large, in this paper, our
focus is on understanding environmental compliance in the textile wet
processing sector. There are 600-800 textile wet processing units in the
country, which turn grey fabric into finished fabric. These are major
industries, which contribute to almost 50% of total exports, 38% of the
manufacturing labor force about 9.5% of GDP. While engines of economic activity,
wet processing units, are also highly polluting factories. This is because
their dyeing, printing and finishing activities result in large discharges of
waste water, often without clean-up, into drains and rivers.

Understanding the effectiveness of
environmental regulations in developing economies is a challenge because of the
complex array for factors that affect compliance and the limited data available
to tease these factors apart. The main purpose of our study is to examine the
reasons underlying environmental compliance in the textile sector in Pakistan.
Thus, we seek to first understand whether and how well existing environmental
rules and regulations apply to the textile sector. We assess the challenges
faced by the government in implementing existing laws and the textile sector in
fully complying with these laws. The study also examines the role of voluntary
and non-regulatory pressures that lead firms to comply. Our analyses is based
on a review of the laws, interviews with industry and government officials,
case studies of 10 textile processing units and a survey of 60 large and medium
textile processing.

textile sector in Pakistan:

The textile sector in Pakistan can be divided
into eight types of units. These include spinning, composite, independent
weaving, finishing, garment, terry towels and knitwear units (see Table 1).
While many of these activities are undertaken separately, some composite
factories combine these different tasks.1 The most water pollution appears to
be generated from wet processing within composite firms.2 Though it is
difficult to assess exact the level of effluents in different sub-processes,
“bleaching and dyeing” are known to contribute significantly to waste water
pollution. Thus, our research focuses on composite firms with wet processing
activities (bleaching, dyeing, printing and washing).

Textile-processing units are mainly located
in and around the major cities of Karachi (350), Lahore (200), and Faisalabad
(250). Our study focuses on the industrial estates of Faisalabad and its
suburban area of Khurrianwala in Punjab province. Of the 475 registered members
of the Pakistan Textile Processing Mills Association (APTMA),3 135 members are
in Faisalabad. In fact, production from Faisalabad constitutes more that 65% of
overall value of textiles exported from Pakistan (APTPMA, 2012; FCCI, 2012a,
2012b). Faisalabad is a hub for all types of textile production. But, factories
associated with ginning, spinning and weaving are found in large numbers
because of easy access to raw cotton. Faisalabad’s contribution to pollution
through wastewater discharge.


In order to understand environmental
compliance in the textile industry in Pakistan we first undertook a review of
environmental regulations, followed by expert interviews. We also undertook a
survey of sixty firms to obtain quantitative data on compliance and reasons for
non-compliance and ten detailed case studies.

of Environmental Regulations The Government of Pakistan
has six major environmental legislations (see Appendix-1) and detailed National
Environmental Quality Standards (see Appendix-2) that apply to textile
industries. The federal environmental protection agency (EPA) classifies
industries into three categories A, B and C on the basis of the level of
pollution released. The textile processing sector lies in category A for liquid

NEQS (2001) establish standards for liquid
effluents, gaseous emissions and ambient air quality and the legislations.
pollution parameters that are a priority include effluent flow, temperature,
pH, COD, Total suspended solids (TSS), Total dissolved solids (TDS), BODS,
Copper, Chromium, Chlorides, traces of Arsenic, Cadmium, and Nickel. We
reviewed most of the regulatory documents relevant to the textile sector’s
environmental compliance.

Informant Interviews:

We undertook key informant interviews with
the Chairman, Faisalabad Region, APTPMA, Secretary General and Director
R-Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI), District Environment
Officer (DEO)- Environment Protection Agency (EPA) in Faisalabad (district
office). This information is organized in the form of 10 Key Informant

We also obtained secondary information from Annual
Reports, Quarterly/Monthly Bulletins and/or Research Reports, documents on
textile policy etc. from some of the firms and concerned departments of
Ministry of Textile, EPA, FCCI and APTPMA. We also collected inspection and
monitoring reports from the EPA in Faisalabad. Besides, interview sessions done
with district environment officers and environmental inspectors provided
information on compliance and regulatory processes.