Brick kilns using 'old technology' to be closed in Punjab due to smog

November 20, 2019

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According to Air Visual, Lahore's air quality was in the 'unhealthy' category on Wednesday morning with an Air Quality Index (AQI) ranking of 185. — AFP/File
According to Air Visual, Lahore's air quality was in the 'unhealthy' category on Wednesday morning with an Air Quality Index (AQI) ranking of 185. — AFP/File

The Environment Protection Department (EPD) of Punjab has directed that brick kilns using "old technology" in the province should be closed from Wednesday.

In a notification dated November 19, the EPD said: "Consequent upon approval of the competent authority, no old technology brick kilns shall operate" in select cities from November 20 till December 20.

The cities in Punjab where kilns using old technology will not be allowed to operate for the next month are Lahore, Sheikhupura, Kasur, Faisalabad, Chiniot, Okara, Sahiwal, Khanewal, Multan, Nankana Sahib, Narowal, Sargodha, Jhang, Vehari, Hafizabad, Pakpattan, Gujranwala and Sialkot.

The notification, however, stated that brick kilns using "zig-zag technology", a design change that makes more efficient use of fuel, would be allowed to operate.

Director of the Punjab EPD Naseem-ur-Rehman confirmed that the decision to close brick kilns was part of the provincial government's measures to curb smog that has blanketed northeastern parts of the province.

Last week, the provincial government had retracted a similar announcement made earlier of closing down old-fashioned brick kilns in central and northeastern Punjab to control smog currently tormenting people, saying it did not want to "increase the problems of people or render anyone jobless".

However, they have once again announced the closure of the brick kilns.

According to Air Visual, Lahore's air quality was in the 'unhealthy' category on Wednesday morning around 11am with an Air Quality Index (AQI) ranking of 185.

Meanwhile, Indian capital New Delhi is on the top of the ranking with an AQI of 324 in the 'hazardous' category.

For the last four years, smog, rightly being called the fifth season of Lahore, has deprived the people of sunshine and dusk-hour charm as layers of toxic smoke engulf horizon from November to February.

The situation became worse this year as the Punjab government, for the first time, announced the closure of schools due to dense smog. Residents accuse the government of taking insufficient measures to control the situation even as the administration insists that it is making efforts to deal with the smog.