NAROWAL: Influential farmers and brick kiln owners are blatantly flouting the official ban on burning crops stubble and hazardous smoke emissions in the district, while the authorities concerned take no action against them despite complaints by the area residents.

According to the residents, especially of Zafarwal tehsil, influential farmers are resorting to burning paddy stubble after harvesting the crop, contributing to smog in the area that was harming humans as well the cattle.

Similarly, they complained of poisonous emissions by the brick kilns as the owners were flouting the ban on such practices.

Punjab government had banned smoke emitting factories, brick kilns etc and burning of crop stubble for a month all over the province because of increasing smog. They alleged that some brick kiln owners were operating their units with the connivance of the administration, contributing to smog in the district.

They regretted that because of the increasing smog residents of the affected villages were suffering from respiratory, eye and skin diseases.

Nasir Deen and Muhammad Muneer, both residents of Jundiylla village blamed the district administration and the environment protection department (EPD) for failing to check paddy stubble burning and smoke-emitting brick kilns in the district despite a ban on such practices. They deplored the blatant violations of environment laws, accusing the district administration and EPD of inefficiency.

“We informed [the offices of] Zafarwal assistant commissioner and Narowal deputy commissioner by telephone about the burning of crops remains by some farmers but no action was taken against the violators,” Muneer said.

“This poisonous smoke is causing diseases to our family members as well as the cattle,” he added.

The affected people have demanded Chief Minister Usman Buzdar should take notice of the situation and order legal action against the [ban violating] farmers and brick kiln owners so that area residents could be saved from smog.

Published in Dawn, December 11th, 2019

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