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Lahore court summons report on steps taken to tackle smog

Smog has become an annually recurring environmental threat in Punjab

SAMAA | - Posted: Nov 7, 2020 | Last Updated: 1 year ago
SAMAA |
Posted: Nov 7, 2020 | Last Updated: 1 year ago

Photo: Online

The Lahore High Court summoned on Friday a report on all the measures taken by the Punjab government to tackle smog.

Justice Shahid Karim remarked, while hearing petitions against smog, that steps should’ve been taken a year back. The government must work 12 months to tackle smog and air pollution.

The cars that give off smoke should be banned, he remarked.

The director-general of the Provincial Disaster Management Authority told the court that a threat alert has been issued and deputy commissioners have been given the authority to fine people for not following the protocols. So far, 5,500 FIRs have been registered.

The case has been adjourned till Thursday.

Dense smog engulfed Lahore once again as October began. The air quality level shot to an alarming 153, according to the Air Quality Index. The rising levels of air pollution in the city have been declared “hazardous” for human health.

According to the Environment Protection Department, the primary contributors to air pollution include running vehicles, industrial emissions, and burning of crop stubble. “The department has collected data from all over the province,” said EPD Spokesperson Sajid.

Lahore was ranked the second most polluted city in the world last October when its AQI ranking shot to 328. Schools in Lahore were closed for two days in November. Three students – Mishael Hayat, Leila Alam, and Laiba Siddiqui – were among the many people who had filed petitions against the Punjab government, accusing it of downplaying the severity of air pollution and putting the residents’ lives at risk.

Since then, the city of gardens has been regularly topping the AQI chart for its lowest air quality. Smog has become an annually recurring environmental threat in the provincial capital.

In September, the Punjab government decided to launch a four-year programme under Punjab’s Industries, Commerce and Investment Department worth Rs200 million. 

The main objective of this programme was to fund the conversion of brick kilns to environmentally friendly zigzag technology, and fining industries that increase air pollution. But the reappearance of smog in the city shows the government has failed to curb it, despite its tall claims.

Smog is formed by a mixture of pollutants and water vapor in the atmosphere. It can cause health problems such as asthma, flu, coughing, allergies, bronchial infections, and heart problems.

Prolonged exposure to environmental pollution also results in shortened life expectancy. These risks may be reduced by wearing masks, managing gaseous vehicular emissions, using eco-friendly products, and reusing and recycling.

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