Lahore has been deluged with smog and the issue isn’t improving by any means. Opposition of the Provincial Assembly (Punjab) has urged government to take stern measures against this ever growing environmental pollution in Lahore.
Opposition Moves the Motion
Opposition held Environment Protection Department Punjab (EPDP) responsible for the current smog situation in the provincial capital. It was demanded in the resolution that strict action should be taken against the individuals responsible and that school going children should be given vacations until the smog issue is resolved.
Assembly members of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Muslim League Q (PML Q) presented the motion in the assembly hall. PTI members included Ahmed Khan Bachar, Muhammad Shoaib Siddiqui, and Malik Taimoor Masood while Sadia Sohail Rana and Muhammad Afzal from PML (Q) joined the motion.
Reasons Behind Air Pollution
Smog is a thick layer of pollutants that combine with fog and get suspended in the air. Contributing factors of smog include emissions from vehicles and industries. Cutting down of trees has also been identified as one of the reasons behind increase in smog.
Dr Muhammad Afzal, held EPDP responsible and said that no in-time measures were taken against the sources of pollution by the concerned department. According to him, vehicles emitting the huge amounts of smoke should have been fined.
Identifying factories as one of the main contributors to smog, Shoaib Siddiqui claimed that factories in Droghawala, Mehmood-Booti and adjacent areas were working during night and are main driving factor behind the pollution.
“At these factories, tyres were burnt which is hazardous to human health.”
He further demanded that these factories should be moved out of the city or closed permanently.
Sadia Sohail put the blame on Punjab government’s projects of Metro bus and Orange line. She said that huge number of trees were cut down during the progress of these projects and government failed to plant them again. She demanded that trees be planted again to restore the balance.
Dr Faisal Zahoor, DG Punjab Health Services, says that Rs. 0.88 million have been allocated for distribution of face masks among public. 500,000 masks are to be distributed as bids are already in place.
He further said that Rs. 1 million will be spent on campaigns where the focus would be on diseases caused by smog and how to prevent them.
Malik Taimoor previously criticised the government for not running any awareness campaigns. He demanded that government should dole out masks among public especially students.
Dangerous for Humans and Crops
International standards suggest that air pollution must not increase 80 mg per cubic metres however it has already crossed this limit in various areas of Punjab. The pollution recorded in various areas of Punjab is as high as 200 mg per cubic meters.
Such high density of thick pollution layer in the atmosphere interferes with the photosynthesis process in plants which leaves them short of food. Not only that, it is the cause of many skin diseases among humans and is highly treacherous for people with heart diseases.
Advice from Agriculture Department
In order to reduce the effect of smog on crops, Agriculture Department has issued certain guidelines to farmers. Farmers should not burn the residue of crops, instead they should mix it with soil and plant the crops in that. Crops should be periodically irrigated and sprayed with water to harness better yield that has been decreased by smog.