Smog chokes Lahore once again

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Govt officials deny failure to implement smog commission’s findings, blame Indian farmers for pollution

Punjab government’s claims of making efforts for controlling smog fell short when pollutants once again engulfed several areas of the province, including the capital.

Government officials, on the other hand, are blatant in their denial of their failure to implement the findings of the smog commission, as they continue to blame Indian farmers for the recent spell of smog in Punjab.

A day earlier, Air Quality Index in Lahore had reached 484 at 10am, adding that the threshold for hazardous level of air quality was 300. The index warned that the soupy air in Lahore is hazardous to breathe, especially for young children. Another index ranked Lahore as the second most polluted city in the world.

Haziness, and nose and eye irritation is a clear indication of the beginning of the phenomenon which has been pestering Lahore and other cities of Punjab in October and November for the past few years.

Amnesty International also blamed the Punjab government for exposing people to hazardous air risks in violation of their human rights to life and health.

Health experts warn that if the air quality continues to deteriorate, the average lifespan would be shortened and a series of health problems will arise for the residents of Pakistan’s most populous province.

Smog first engulfed Lahore in November 2016 and culminated only after a spell of rainfall. The citizens panicked after facing a phenomenon which was previously unknown to them and urged the government to act before it becomes a serious health hazard.

INCOMPETENCE OR CORRUPTION?

In 2017, after a number of petitions were filed by citizens against the concerned government departments and the Environment Protection Authority (EPA), the Lahore High Court (LHC) ordered the formation of a smog commission.

The commission released its report in May 2018, wherein it was suggested that there was a dire need for immediate actions to prevent reemergence of smog in winter. The commission also stated that EPA should install at least 10 stations to monitor air quality immediately and 20 later on.

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