–Govt decides to launch crackdown on polluters
–Burning of crop residue, garbage banned under Section 144
LAHORE: A meeting chaired by Punjab Chief Secretary Akbar Durrani decided to launch a crackdown on those causing air and environmental pollution (burning of crop stubble, garbage, and industrial, vehicular emissions) as part of the Punjab government’s efforts to combat smog. Under Section 144, burning of crop residue and garbage would be banned besides closure of old technology coal-fired brick kilns across the province from October to December.
Addressing a meeting at Civil Secretariat on Tuesday, the chief secretary said that immediate measures are being taken to combat looming threat of smog this year. He said that there is a need to adopt preventive measure and enhance awareness to mitigate the factors behind smog. He added that the government is prohibiting the use of substandard fuel in factories, and similarly, there would also be a ban on burning of crop stubble and garbage. He directed all the relevant departments to strictly implement the instructions on smog control, adding that no negligence would be tolerated in this regard. Controlling environmental pollution is a service to humanity, he remarked.
The secretary environment told the meeting that old BTK technology brick kilns would be kept closed from October to December and only new Zig Zag technology brick kilns would be allowed to operate. Strict action would be taken against the violators, he added.
He said that the Environment Department has also banned construction of new brick kilns having the BTK technology and now only Zig Zag technology brick kilns can be set up that would reduce environmental pollution by 70 per cent and use of coal by 30 percent. He maintained that a team of Nepali experts has been invited to Pakistan to make brick kilns owner aware of Zig Zag technology and this team is conducting awareness workshops in different cities. He said that so far 178 steel mills and 36 brick kilns have been shut down for causing air pollution whereas 23 steel mills have been installed dry scrubbers (equipment to control pollution). The meeting was attended by administrative secretaries of different departments, Lahore division commissioner, chief meteorologist and officers concerned.