Get rid of poor air quality index | By Attiya Munawer

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Get rid of poor air quality index

With the onset of winter in Pakistan, the intensity of smog is again soaring. But as far as the ears of government institutions are unconcerned, Lahore ranks first in the world in the air pollution index.

The main reason for the surge in smog across the country is the lack of effective measures against industries and brick kilns, along with smoke-emitting factories.

Government agencies attribute the rising polluted air to seasonal and sometimes post-harvest crop burning by farmers and sometimes use it to divert the public attention from government incompetence by calling it a secret weapon of Indian farmers and the Indian government, while the growing intensity of smog in most parts of the country is a sign of the government’s lack of seriousness.

Undoubtedly, air pollution will be the biggest problem for centuries to come, and experts from all over the world are collaborating to address it, but we have polluted the entire country; smoke is everywhere, dust pollution is rampant, the country’s political leadership is tearing each other down, while government departments are handing out tenders to pave roads, lay pipes and blow dust everywhere, the world is shutting down usage of coal and we are continuing to install coal projects in our country.

Many years ago, experts warned everyone about the rising air pollution, but our ruling class does not have time to know about pollution prevention and health.

Both the government and the opposition are wallowing their motives instead of addressing public issues. Thus, all experience failure.

At present, air pollution has gripped Lahore and other nearby cities, causing respiratory illnesses and adversely affecting the health of the people.

The government announced the anti-smog squad after a long time, this squad will include the environment and law departments, the squad will ensure transfer of kilns on zig-zag technology and re-inspection of all factories and small industries.

Action will also be taken against smoke emitting vehicles by imposing a fine of Rs. 2000, Rs. 50000 from smoke-emitting Brick kilns and factories.

If the government had taken this decision a month ago, other cities including Lahore could have been saved from air pollution.

But we have become accustomed to taking effective action only after we have been forced out of our habit.

The Prime Minister has always mentioned air pollution control in his speeches, but it is important to ensure its implementation.

The government needs to set up air pollution testing stations across the country as well as ensure the use of modern technology.

Drought is being eradicated from the world with the reduction of pollution and heat intensity through artificial rain.

China is the largest country with specific experience in cloud seeding. Various experiments are also carried out for artificial precipitation in China, India, Saudi Arabia and South Africa.

Eighteen years ago, the experiment of artificial rain to end the drought in Thar was partially successful and now for the first time in the country the experiment of artificial rain is being conducted by experts from Punjab University’s Centre for Integrated Mountain Research Director Prof Munawar Sabir the head of the team, says that this experiment will be done for the first time in Khanpur, a hilly area of Hazar region.

There are also plans for artificial rainfall in Lahore to get rid of smog in the city. There is no shortage of talented people like Dr Sajid Rashid and Dr Munawar Sabir in Pakistan.

The government should use such talented people and encourage them so that Pakistani people can be successful in getting rid of environmental pollution.

—The writer is a regular columnist, based in Lahore.

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