LHC calls out govt on inaction to prevent smog



Lahore High Court (LHC) has called out the Government of Punjab for inaction to prevent and curb smog in a detailed order that was issued today on Saturday. The high court has ordered strict implementation of Smog Emergency Action Plan. Chief Justice (CJ) of LHC Mansoor Ali Shah gave out interim order on plea filed by Sheraz Zaka Advocate stating that the provincial government showed slackness by not taking timely measures to counter smog. The chief justice ruled that the government did not take any steps despite smog having risen to an alarming level instead time was wasted analysing the data concerning smog. The high court ruled today that health emergency should be implemented after smog and pollution level hits 300. According to the order, the department concerned is liable to publish daily data collected regarding smog on website.
The CJ has ordered further steps to be taken within three months to better Smog Action Plan and taking inputs of the education department as well as health department for the cause. Order of the high court has come some five days after Dunya News reported that the government lacked required data to analyse the situation.
According to the report compiled here at Dunya, a station of air monitoring in Lahore and six laboratories in different cities of Punjab are dysfunctional after equipment worth billions of Rupees was imported in bid to cultivate a cleaner atmosphere. Expensive Compact Air Pointers positioned across Punjab are out of use leaving Punjab government with some six units in the province for data which the experts are cynical provide accurate statistics. The Government of Punjab spent at least Rs 2.13 billion on foreign equiment for the cause in the last ten years. Moreover, an advanced unit of air quality monitoring station that imported from Japan and positioned in Town Hall is out of order.
The toxic smog that has covered parts of Pakistan for weeks has exposed official torpor over rampant pollution that has killed thousands more people than have died in years of militancy. The polluted air that has lingered in Islamabad in recent days was finally dispelled by rain this week, bringing the surrounding Margalla Hills into view once again. In Lahore, where the situation was most critical, the level of PM2.5 — microscopic particles that lodge deep in the lungs — had dropped to 159 Wednesday from more than 1,000 during the pollution spike, according to Pakistan Air Quality, a citizen-driven monitoring initiative.—NNI

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