Lahore High Court (LHC) directed the Punjab Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Friday to enforce pollution charge rules by forming an inquiry committee in collaboration with the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industries (LCCI).
Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah was hearing a petition by Muhammad Naeem questioning the vires of Environmental Impact Assessment and Initial Environmental Examination rules.
His counsel Sheraz Zaka submitted that the EPA and the relevant authorities had failed to fulfil their statutory obligations with respect to implementation of Pollution Charge Rules 2001.
He said Lahore was becoming one of the most polluted cities due to lack of implementation of the rules. Counsel for the EPA said the rules had not been implemented.
“Following the Paris agreement signed in 2015 to curb pollution and environmental degradation, it has become necessary to implement pollution charge rules and adhere to the United Nations climate change convention,” Zaka said.
Advocate Saima Khwaja assisted the court on the matter as amicus curie. She said the Punjab would continue to suffer from growing industrialisation and global warming as long as the EPA did not fulfil its obligations.
Justice Shah directed the agency to implement pollution charge rules by forming an inquiry committee in collaboration with the LCCI. The court sought a report on progress at the next hearing.
The judge also directed the government to take action against factory owners violating pollution charge rules. The judge adjourned the hearing until March 25.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 23rd, 2016.