Smog prevention: Punjab to ban stubble, garbage burning under section 144

LAHORE: As part of measures to prevent smog, the Punjab government has decided to impose Section 144 across the province to ban the burning of crop residues and garbage.

The decision was taken during a meeting chaired by Punjab Chief Secretary Abdullah Khan Sumbal at Civil Secretariat here on Wednesday. The administrative secretaries of different departments including local government, housing, and transport, director-general Provincial Disaster Management Authority and officers concerned attended in the meeting.

During the meeting, Chief Secretary Abdullah Sumbal directed the officers to intensify the ongoing crackdown on industrial units and vehicles, causing environmental pollution. He said that it is imperative to take preemptive measures against smog, adding that all the relevant departments should carry out collective efforts to mitigate the impact of pollution. He also issued orders the Secretary Environmental Protection Department (EPD) to prepare a framework for the prevention of smog.

The chief secretary said that the ban on use of substandard fuel in steel mills and factories would be enforced and administrative and police officers would provide full support during anti-smog operations. He asked the Agriculture Department to promote farm mechanization to address the problem of stubble burning.

The EPD secretary gave a detailed briefing at the meeting. He said that anti-smog squads have been formed in all districts. He said that the crackdown is underway against industries and vehicles that cause air pollution. Giving details, he mentioned that this year the authorities conducted 19,000 inspections, imposed fines of Rs440 million, besides registering 883 cases and sealing 664 units. He added that a control room has been set up in EPD to oversee the anti-smog measures.

 

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