- EPD shuts 103 factories to curb carbon emissions
LAHORE: Thick smog blanketed the city on Saturday and citizens complained about having breathing problems, throat infections as well as irritation in the eyes and nose.
According to the Pakistan Meteorological Department, the smog blanket thickened due to cold high pressure in the upper atmosphere. The smog mostly comprises of nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide and other aerosols.
The MET office predicted smog for the next week as mainly dry weather is expected in most parts of the country and there is no chance of rain in the city. According to the MET Office, shallow foggy and misty weather conditions are expected in plain areas of Punjab and upper Sindh during morning hours.
Punjab Environment Protection Department (EPD) Director Naseemur Rehman Shah said that his department is making utmost efforts to lessen the smog in the city. “A comprehensive smog policy approved by the Punjab Environment Protection Council is being implemented. The department is taking short-term and long-term measures in this regard,” he said.
He said that the Punjab Agriculture Department has been asked to guide the farmers not to burn staples. “The assistant commissioners have been directed by the Punjab government on the recommendations of the EPD to register cases against farmers who burn staples,” he added.
Similarly, he said that the traffic police have been urged by the EPD to take extraordinary measures to control traffic jams and end encroachments since they cause traffic jams and result in carbon emission from vehicles. He added that factories have been directed not to burn plastic, wood or rubber for fuel and 103 factories have been shut in Lahore which were not controlling carbon emissions and were using the low-quality material for burning.
He said that the local government department has asked municipalities and corporations to ensure cleanliness and avoid dust which causes smog. “Section 144 has been imposed in Punjab for two months till December 16 and sweepers and citizens have been told that cases would be registered against those who burn garbage,” he added.
Jinnah Hospital Head of Medicine Department Dr Kahlid recommended citizens to cover their noses and mouths and wear protective glasses and helmets to fight the effects of smog. He said that most of the patients in the last week complained about breathing problems, sore throat, nose and eye itching.
“Most of the patients who visited Jinnah OPD complained about breathing problems due to smog,” he said and urged the citizens to keep their houses neat and clean besides closing windows so that dust does not enter the house.
Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif has formed a high-level committee to monitor the smog and tasked it to take immediate remedial measures against it. The committee is holding a meeting on a daily basis to ensure coordination among traffic police, agriculture department, local government department and environmental protection department to jointly fight smog.
The committee is looking to formulate an emergency plan to take measures to end smog in the city.
The Punjab Assembly on Wednesday passed the Environment Protection (Amendment) Bill 2017 for the purpose of ensuring a clean environment in the city and taking remedial measures against smog.