Ban imposed on burning of trash

Authorities say violators will face court cases and penalty

Our Correspondent December 20, 2022


The Rawalpindi district administration has imposed a ban on the burning of trash, tyres, plastic, shoes and raw wood in all brick kilns across the district.

the authorities said that violation of this ban will result in the immediate sealing of the kilns, jail terms, a fine of Rs100,000 and filing of court cases against kiln owners.

They said that bricks are allowed to be manufactured only with the new eco-friendly zigzag technology.

Out of 260 brick kilns in Rawalpindi district, 180 kilns have been converted to the new eco-friendly technology.

Environmental Protection Department Senior Research Officer Mohammad Amin Baig, said that four kiln owners who were manufacturing bricks by using the old method have been fined Rs100,000 each. He said that the anti-smog squad was working 24 hours. He said that was zero tolerance for violators.

He said that notices have also been issued to kiln owners to install zigzag technology immediately. He said that the anti-smog squad also sealed 10 smoke-emitting factories.

He said that due to continuous drought, the air pollution index has reached 190 in the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad.

Smog is a result of anthropogenic activities, such as increased traffic, industrialisation and the rising pace of urbanisation. The major causes of air pollution are industrial emissions, vehicle emissions, domestic emissions, construction-related dust emissions, smoke from brick kilns and soot from the burning of agricultural waste.

People of all ages are affected by smog, with children and the elderly being more susceptible to diseases caused by air pollution. The alarming increase in pollution with the change of weather poses a heightened risk of throat and eye-related diseases.

Due to the continuous and dangerous increase in smog and air quality index in the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad, the Ministry of Environmental Protection last week established an anti-smog squad for the Rawalpindi district.

The seven-member squad is empowered to impose a fine of Rs50,000 to Rs100,000 on the spot and seal the factory or kiln emitting dangerous gases. The squad has been issued strict orders to launch a major crackdown on all smoke-emitting machinery including smoke-emitting factories, large bakeries and brick kilns in all five districts of the Rawalpindi range.

As part of the smog reduction measures in the province, the Lahore High Court, earlier this week, ordered the closure of all markets and restaurants in Lahore by 10 pm on weekdays as well as sealing any schools that opened on Fridays as part of measures to reduce smog.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 20th, 2022.


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