LAHORE: The provincial government has decided to set up the Punjab Clean Air Commission to control pollution and smog.
In this regard, recommendations and proposals were presented by officials of the departments concerned to prevent smog and pollution. Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar chaired the meeting.
The meeting was told that as per court orders, brick kilns would remain closed from October 20 to December 31. The ban on burning of the residue of crops would be imposed across Punjab from October 1. It was decided to evolve an effective and people-friendly strategy for disbanding two-stroke engines, Qingqi (motorcycle) rickshaws, and smoke-emitting vehicles.
A campaign on the social media would be launched to create awareness about the damage caused to the environment by burning of solid waste and a comprehensive mass media campaign would also be devised for spreading knowledge among people about smog prevention. The chief minister directed the authorities concerned that air-monitoring equipment should be repaired immediately. He said that air quality system in Lahore, Multan, Rawalpindi, Rahim Yar Khan, and Faisalabad be made functional.
He said: “Smog badly disrupts daily life; therefore, a sustainable policy to prevent it be devised at the earliest.” Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) should devise a system for in time information about smog and other environmental issues. The South Asia Coordination body be contacted to prevent pollution entering Pakistan from the neighbouring countries.
Among others who attended the meeting included Federal Environment Minister Amin Aslam, Senior Provincial Minister Abdul Aleem Khan, Provincial Ministers Mian Aslam Iqbal, Sibtain Khan Niazi, Malik Nouman, while the IGP and secretaries of departments concerned were also present. The meeting was also told that committees have been established at tehsil and district levels for monitoring of measures to control environmental pollution.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 23rd, 2018.