In response to the alarming smog crisis plaguing Lahore, the capital of Pakistan’s Punjab province, the government has declared a “smog emergency” and imposed stringent measures to tackle the hazardous air quality. For the second consecutive day, Lahore was ranked as one of the most polluted major cities globally. It is according to a global air quality monitoring platform, iqair.com.
The move came after the Lahore High Court issued an order to immediately declare a “smog emergency” in the city. It was due to the persistently dangerous air quality index. The government’s plan includes sealing industrial units, with the possibility of reopening only through a court order.
To combat the severe smog issue, the government has initiated a series of actions. It is including strict measures against stubble burning and the release of black smoke from brick kilns and factories. All brick kilns are mandated to transition to environmentally friendly zigzag technology. Additionally, vehicles emitting excessive smoke will be impounded and can only be released upon obtaining a proper fitness certificate. Special anti-smog squads, comprising district and highway police, will patrol around the clock. They will prevent stubble burning and enforce these measures.
Lahore High Court
The severity of the smog crisis prompted Lahore High Court Justice Shahid Karim to reprimand Lahore commissioner Muhammad Ali Randhawa for failing to control pollution. He emphasized that the smog crisis is not a personal issue but a matter of grave concern for the well-being of the city’s residents, especially the younger generation. The judge held the commissioner responsible for the deteriorating state of Lahore and urged him to take immediate action.
Caretaker Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi had briefed caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar about the primary cause of the smog crisis. It is – The burning of crop residues in India’s Punjab state. In response, Kakar pledged to address the smog issue with India at the diplomatic level, recognizing the urgency of tackling this cross-border problem.
The smog emergency declaration and the government’s rigorous measures mark a significant step. It is addressing towards the severe air quality crisis in Lahore. The authorities are determined to combat this issue and protect the health and well-being of the city’s residents. Particularly its children, who are most vulnerable to the harmful effects of smog.