Punjab govt imposes environmental emergency to control smog

CM orders action against those burning crops residues

LAHORE    -   Declaring smog a ca­lamity, the Punjab gov­ernment on Tuesday imposed an environ­mental emergency in Lahore and other cities of the province. 

Taking notice of La­hore gaining top posi­tion on the air quality index, the Punjab Chief Minister Ch Parvez Ela­hi has ordered an effec­tive implementation of the plan designed to reduce smog and said that action should be taken to control the factors causing smog. 

While stressing to ensure effective imple­mentation of the ban on burning crop residues across Punjab, the CM directed the EPD, trans­port, industries depart­ments and administra­tive officers to go to the field as any failure to implement the ongoing SOPs to reduce smog will not be tolerated. 

He said that indiscrim­inate action should be taken against those who set fire to crop residues. Legal action should also be continued against smog-emitting vehicles, he added. He said that the anti-smog squad should regularly check smog-emitting vehicles in the city. Anti-smog squad should ensure checking of vehicles at the entrances of Lahore city. The chief minister said that farmers will be provided with a modern harvester “Hepper Seed” to destroy crop residues. Transfer of all brick kilns to zigzag technology should also be ensured, he further said.

Meanwhile, the Pun­jab government has de­cided to bring the pro­vincial environmental protection policy in line with the latest in­ternational standards. 

During a meeting of the Punjab Environ­ment Protection Coun­cil chaired by the Pro­vincial Environment Protection Minister Mohammad Basharat Raja in the Civil Secre­tariat, consideration was given to the es­tablishment of car free zones in Lahore and the setting up of traffic days there. 

It was suggested that more and more large-leaved trees should be planted in the city as such plants help in curbing the spread of dust. Secretary Protec­tion Punjab Environ­ment Usman Ali Khan, Director General Zee­shan Sikandar and oth­er members attended the meeting. 

Chairman Council Muhammad Basharat Raja directed that the instructions of Lahore High Court must be taken into account in the policy making pro­cess related to the envi­ronment and the flaws found in the standards set earlier should be removed. He said that this year’s smog situa­tion is better than last year, but he warned that the risks of envi­ronmental pollution may increase in the coming years due to population growth. He directed that the me­dia should be informed about the measures re­lated to environment protection on a daily basis. He said that we are bound to imple­ment the commitments made in international conventions including COP 26.

Punjab Environment Protection Council sug­gested that vehicles older than 30 years should be banned in Lahore from October to December and the use of electric public trans­port should be encour­aged. Environment Protection Minister Mohammad Basharat Raja said that obstacles in the use of electric vehicles will have to be removed. The council suggested restricting the establishment of industries in Punjab only to designated es­tates and parks, while expressing concern over cleanliness with­out sprinkling water on roads. Muhammad Basharat Raja said that before approving the new policy, it should be given more thought and the concerned de­partments should be taken into the loop. He said that the secre­taries of the relevant departments should come in the next meet­ing of the council so that effective measures can be suggested.

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt