Brick kilns across Punjab will remain closed from November 7 to December 31 to counter smog, a Lahore High Court verdict said on Wednesday.
The three-page verdict, penned by Justice Shahid Karim, said that the secretary of Punjab’s Environment Protection Department held a meeting with the brick kiln owners association on September 16 and they decided that brick kiln owners will shut down on the said dates. “This voluntary action on their part is commendable and shall be enforced in letter and spirit.”
It added, “clear instructions were given out to the DCs regarding stubble burning, emissions from brick kilns, industrial units and solid waste burning in order to curtail accumulation of smog during the winter season.”
The chief secretary has been instructed to hold meetings with the chairperson of the Water and Environment Commission every two weeks to assess the situation and ascertain whether the instructions are being followed.
The court has even asked the environment department to submit a report on anti-smog towers at the next hearing on September 24.
Air pollution levels in Lahore were reported among the worst in the world last year and Amnesty International issued a statement that the hazardous air quality in Pakistan violates human rights.
At least 95% of all children in low and middle-income countries were exposed to unsafe levels of air pollution, according to a World Health Organisation report on air quality and child health said.
In Lahore, a report prepared by the Children’s Hospital revealed a three-fold increase in admissions for chest or cardiovascular complaints in the past decade.
According to WHO, air pollution impacts every organ of the body and can result in brain deformity and stunting.