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LAHORE: The Punjab government decided on Tuesday to launch a crackdown on those causing air and environmental pollution (burning of crop stubble, garbage, and industrial, vehicular emissions) as a part of its pre-emptive measures to combat smog in the next four months.

A meeting which was presided over Chief Secretary Akbar Durrani decided that burning crop residue and garbage would be banned under section 144, besides closure of coal-fired brick kilns across the province from October to December.

Mr Durrani said immediate measures were being taken to combat the looming threat of smog this year. To mitigate the factors behind smog there was a need to adopt preventive measures and enhance awareness.

He said the government was prohibiting use of substandard fuel in factories, and similarly there would also be a ban on burning of crop stubble and garbage.

He directed all the relevant departments to strictly implement the instructions on smog control, adding that no negligence would be tolerated in this regard. Controlling environmental pollution was a service to humanity, he remarked.

The secretary of environment said the old fashioned brick kilns would be kept closed from October to December and only new zigzag technology brick kilns would be allowed to operate. Strict action would be taken against the violators, he added.

He said the department has also banned construction of new brick kilns having BTK technology and now only zigzag technology brick kilns could be set up that would reduce environmental pollution by 70 percent.

He maintained that a team of Nepali experts was making brick kilns owners aware of zigzag technology. He said that so far 178 steel mills and 36 brick kilns had been shut down for causing air pollution whereas 23 steel mills have got installed dry scrubbers (equipment to control pollution).

The meeting was attended by administrative secretaries of different departments, commissioner Lahore division, chief meteorologist and officers concerned.

Published in Dawn, September 12th, 2018