LAHORE: Adviser to the Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Ameen Aslam on Monday said that cross-border factors contributing to smog in the country were being monitored through satellite, and discussions were underway with India at the foreign office level so as to curb the menace of air pollution.
“We are learning from their [India’s] experience and sharing our side of the story too,” he said while addressing a press conference held in the wake of expected smog.
He further said that EPA would install an air quality monitoring station near the Indian border to monitor trans-boundary smog.
“The ministry of climate change has asked that of petroleum to take steps towards reducing sulphur content present in petroleum products being sold in the country and it will help in reducing the overall pollution levels as well,” he added.
The adviser said that government was fully committed to ensuring a clean and green Pakistan and was taking solid steps to resolve the issue of pollution and smog.
Aslam told the media persons that Punjab chief minister had approved setting up of a Rs250 million fund for the introduction of zigzag technology at brick kilns of the province, which would help reduce smoke emission by 60 per cent.
“In a bid to tackle the menace of smog, a decision to this effect was taken at a meeting between the chief minister and brick kilns owners. The kiln owners assured the government to fully observe the directions of closing down their units from October 20 to December 31,” he added.
Speaking of the steps taken by Punjab government ahead of smog, Aslam said that at least 11 air quality monitoring stations would be made functional during the month. “Out of these, three have already been made functional; one each in Gujranwala, Faisalabad and Multan,” he said.
The adviser was of the view that smog could not be tackled instantly; however, efforts were being made to deal with it gradually. He said that five factors were contributing to smog, which included brick kilns, vehicular and industrial emissions and crop burning.
“Smog committees have also been constituted at the tehsil level. They will monitor the situation and control smoke emitting units in their purview.”
The Punjab government would also set up smog desks in hospitals, where medicines and doctors would be available around the clock so as to deal with smog-related health issues responsibility.
Aslam said that 53 smoke-emitting kilns had been sealed while the construction of 153 other brick kilns on old pattern had been stopped. Similarly, he said, other smoke-emitting industrial units were also shut down to tackle the issue.