ISLAMABAD: Despite efforts to control air pollution, only five out of 64 brick kilns in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) had been converted to the new environment friendly zigzag technology.

In a written reply, the Ministry of Climate Change told the National Assembly that the zigzag kiln technology had been established to enhance fuel efficiency, energy savings and lessen harmful emissions.

The technology was introduced with the cooperation of the All Pakistan Brick Kiln Owners Association. All the owners of brick kilns who had not converted their kilns to environment friendly zigzag technology had been directed to adopt the new tool by the end of 2020.

As per the government anti-pollution measures, the brick kilns will be given financial aid to use zigzag technology.

All the six operational steel furnaces situated in Islamabad Capital Territory had installed pollution abatement technology.

Pakistan Environment Protection Agency (Pak-EPA) had been monitoring emissions from these furnaces for four months through routine visits of Environmental Monitoring Team (EMT) and online surveillance cameras for stack emissions in order to ensure the compliance with national environmental quality standards (NEQS).

In its written response, Ministry of Climate Change said that after notification of NEQS for ambient air, all the industries in Islamabad are bound to install anti-pollution devices to control air emissions.

According to an official in the ministry, these measures were being taken to control smog in the federal capital. Contributing causes of smog in ICT are vehicular emissions, release of pollution from chimneys of steel mills and furnaces, besides marble factories and brick kilns as well as solid waste burning.

There are more than 185 industrial units of different sizes in ICT, and steel furnaces, marble factories and pharmaceutical industry and the major contributors to both air and ground pollution.

In the last four months, Pak-EPA has sealed six brick kilns that were operating their kilns in sectors H-15 and H-16, without installation of pollution control technologies.

In its written reply, MoCC said that according to Islamabad Traffic Police (ITP) 25, 000 to 30, 000 vehicles enter into ICT through three main entrances. In 2017, a total number of vehicles registered by Motor Registering Authority had reached 78, 082.

The ministry maintained that poor quality of petrol and diesel fuel was the major cause for increasing vehicular emissions.

The ministry maintained that Pak-EPA monitors the ambient air quality data of Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) on daily basis.

Published in Dawn, January 9th, 2020