Punjab's Environment Protection Department (EPD) has sprung into action, sealing 113 factories and fining 250 vehicles after Lahore was engulfed by hazardous smog ahead of the winter season for the second year in a row.

The crackdown, spread over a period of 10 days, also resulted in the department collecting Rs1.5 million in fines.

"The sealed factories and the fined vehicles were harming the environment and were a cause of air pollution," EPD Director Anjum Riaz said.

He also said that "samples" were being collected from steel mills located in the city.

Read: Safety guide: How to safeguard your health from smog

Officials of the EPD have earlier admitted lack of capacity and resources to deal with the hazardous smog, which has now become a recurring pre-winter feature in the city.

According to EPD Labs Director Tauqeer Ahmed Qureshi, heavy duty machines needed for measuring particulate matter and noxious gases are not only highly sensitive, but also extremely expensive.

“We have limited financial and human resources,” he said. “Our last tender for the instruments was for Rs40 million per machine, while maintenance alone would cost Rs5 million every year per station.”

Even if the three instruments they have were working perfectly, he says, they could get readings only for two fixed areas every day. The city needs at least 15 to 20 stations.

“In every location, there are so many factors: proximity of industries, traffic congestion, time of the year, wind direction, temperature, cloud cover etc. How can we give a daily mean reading in such a situation?” he asked.

The annual cost of just maintaining an air quality monitoring system is much more than the department’s annual budget. The department’s development budget for 2017-18 is Rs540 million, said Deputy Director (Development) Tahir.

Opinion

Editorial

X post facto
Updated 19 Apr, 2024

X post facto

Our decision-makers should realise the harm they are causing.
Insufficient inquiry
19 Apr, 2024

Insufficient inquiry

UNLESS the state is honest about the mistakes its functionaries have made, we will be doomed to repeat our follies....
Melting glaciers
19 Apr, 2024

Melting glaciers

AFTER several rain-related deaths in KP in recent days, the Provincial Disaster Management Authority has sprung into...
IMF’s projections
Updated 18 Apr, 2024

IMF’s projections

The problems are well-known and the country is aware of what is needed to stabilise the economy; the challenge is follow-through and implementation.
Hepatitis crisis
18 Apr, 2024

Hepatitis crisis

THE sheer scale of the crisis is staggering. A new WHO report flags Pakistan as the country with the highest number...
Never-ending suffering
18 Apr, 2024

Never-ending suffering

OVER the weekend, the world witnessed an intense spectacle when Iran launched its drone-and-missile barrage against...