Smog blankets the Badshahi mosque on Sunday. — White Star
Smog blankets the Badshahi mosque on Sunday. — White Star

LAHORE: Admitting that smog has become a big issue, Adviser to Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam has said Pakistan has taken measures to stop crops stubble burning, a major cause of the phenomenon, and other countries should also come forward to address it.

He was inspecting the air quality monitoring station installed at Meteorology Department on Sunday. Environment Protection Secretary Salman Ijaz, Director General Environment Protection Agency (EPA) Tanveer Ahmed Warraich, chief meteorologist and other concerned officers were also present.

The adviser said that smog was considered as one of the grave environmental problems being faced by the people across the world. The air quality index (AQI) of Lahore was much better than that of New Delhi, he added.

Terming a news about the AQI of Lahore being higher at the international level baseless, he aid the government would increase monitoring capacity of the index in order to ascertain facts and figures regarding climate change.

Mr Aslam said two smog checking units had been installed in Lahore and his department was also focusing on measures to increase resources to address the issue. “With the help of the World Bank the government was launching a programme to address the air quality issue,” he said.

The adviser said the smog level in India was increasing but the Pakistani government had taken measures to reduce it here. He pledged that Lahore would be made “smog free”.

He said the government was launching electric rickshaws with the World Bank’s support.

He said Smog Commission suggestions were being implemented and a committee had been constituted in this regard.

Mr Aslam further said the government was also planning to introduce electric cars in the country to reduce environmental pollution. “We will also launch other green energy projects to permanently address the problem of smog,” he said.

He said the government was taking strict action against those causing environmental pollution without any discrimination and all possible measures would be taken to protect people from the hazards of smog.

He said Punjab government had also started a “smog awareness” campaign across the province and face masks and pamphlets had been distributed among the motorcyclists, pedestrians and common people for their protection.

Published in Dawn, November 4th, 2019