The air quality of the provincial capital has been projected as ‘very unhealthy’ for its inhabitants. Once again smog has engulfed the entire city placing Lahore among one of the most polluted cities in the world with US Air Quality Index (AQI) rating of 246.
Data shows that the provincial capital is ranked as the third most polluted city in the world, after Dehli, India and Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. It showed that the highest level of environmental pollution is recorded in Model Town, Johar Town, Green Town and Cantonment areas on Monday. Owing to high level of environmental pollution in the city, complaints of respiratory diseases and throat and eyes infections are on the rise.
Medical experts have advised citizens to avoid unnecessary visits to open spaces and use facemasks and eyewear.
Punjab Minister for Environmental Protection Muhammad Rizwan, while addressing a news conference on Monday, said the public needs to understand that smog is a form of air pollution that fumes into the air, created by the combination of fog while major causes of smog included 43% pollution from the transport sector, emissions from industries 25%, waste and solid waste burning included 20%.
Largescale burning of crop residues in India also aggravates the smog situation in Punjab, especially in Lahore. He highlighted that the department has set up special smog committees at the district level while the establishment of smog squads has been ensured in the department. The brick kilns and industrial units are being monitored on daily basis, in addition to sealing the polluting industrial establishments, fines are being levied.
In case of non-compliance with the instructions of the department, the violators are fined and registered FIR against them. The provincial minister said that in order to control the traffic pollution, the department along with the traffic police has been conducting various operations and imposed fines.
Pollution control devices are being installed in air pollutants units. The minister said a pilot project in collaboration with SPARCO has been initiated in Lahore to develop different types of environmental models to address the root causes of pollution.
In addition, pollution is being monitored on a daily basis in the provincial capital and information is being provided to the public through the media. The provincial minister chaired a meeting of the 4th cabinet sub-committee on smog held at Quaid-i-Azam Educational Development Academy. The chair monitored progress on actions taken by all concerned departments to prevent and control SMOG in connection with the previous meeting.
The representative of district administration briefed to chair that five teams have been established as antismog squads in which LESCO, WAPDA, transport, police, building control and representative of EPD included while helpline numbers of EPD and PDMA were published. Representative of transport briefed that proposal being sent to cabinet for changing the rules checking of commercial and private vehicles.