To rein in alarmingly high level of environmental pollution in Lahore, the Punjab government has decided to impose an embargo on supply of Euro-2 fuel in the provincial capital during the ongoing smog season.
Punjab Finance Minister Hashim Jawan Bakht on Tuesday disclosed that only Euro-5 petroleum products will be allowed for sale in Lahore from the next month.
Presiding over the meeting of anti-smog committee at the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) head office on Tuesday, he directed Lahore division commissioner to ensure supply of only high-quality fuel in the city.
He also instructed officials concerned to ask Euro-2 fuel producers to upgrade themselves.
Ordering closure of factories running without scrubbers, the minister warned of strict legal action against those showing resistance. There will be no relaxation for any industrial unit burning tyre, rubber and plastic, he underscored and added that the local administration will ensure strict implementation of smog related restrictions in the city.
Bakht said Punjab Relief Commissioner will be responsible for transfer of brick kilns to new zigzag technology and closure of obsolete brick kilns.
Police and Transport Department will seize vehicles causing environmental pollution in the city, he maintained, adding that statistics will be collected to formulate a sustainable transport policy.
The minister said that local administration will also take action against burning of crop residue and garbage. All resources will be provided to provincial environment department for monitoring of air quality of the provincial capital.
He also instructed officials concerned to prepare a long-term strategy to rein in smog and environmental pollution in the city. To discourage private transport culture, the government will encourage use of public transport for commuters and students. He appealed citizens having multiple vehicles to limit use of their vehicles voluntarily.
He also directed provincial transport department to ensure that smoke controlling devices are installed on all vehicles and cars manufacturers should also be taken on board in this regard.
Lahore atmosphere remained ‘very unhealthy’ on Tuesday consecutively for forth day with US Air Quality Index rating of over 200 points.
Environmental experts warn that PM2.5 concentration in Lahore air is currently 30.8 times above the WHO annual air quality guideline value which is very harmful for human and animals alike.
Medical and health professionals have advised citizens to wear facemask and eye wears in open spaces and avoid unnecessary visit to open areas.