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White Star

LAHORE: The provincial capital on Wednesday again topped the list of cities with most polluted air in the world as its air quality levels turned hazardous in the afternoon.

However, the air quality slightly improved in the evening, bringing Lahore down to the second spot as New Delhi climbed to the top.

Wuhan, China was third on the list, with Krasnoyarsk, Russia, on fourth and Kolkata, India, occupying fifth place, according to air pollution data released by the US Air Quality Index (AQI).

The provincial metropolis recorded particulate matter (PM) rating of 386 in the afternoon that classified the city under the “hazardous” category of air quality, that later slightly improved to 226 PM rating around 9:15pm.

Individual areas of Lahore fared worse, with Kot Lakhpat (industrial area) crossing 450, besides Anarkali Bazaar, Township and Fatehgarh over 300 AQI.

Meanwhile, the district administration continued its anti-smog activities by checking 43 industrial units in the city and sealing 21 of them for creating pollution and emitting smoke.

Two days ago, Punjab Minister for Finance Makhdoom Hashim Jawan Bakhat chaired a meeting of the cabinet committee on smog.

He directed the filling stations in Lahore to sell Euro-5 petrol only for the next month and Euro-2 supply should be stopped during the period.

He said the district administration should ensure implementation of anti-smog measures and relevant laws across the board.

Mr Bakhat said all vehicles creating pollution should be removed from roads and factories and brick kilns using old methods should be sealed immediately.

“Legal action should be taken against the people involved in resisting action over violations and fine should be imposed on vehicles causing pollution,” he said.

He said the citizens should use one vehicle per house during the smog period and install anti-smoking instruments in their vehicles.

He requested the citizens to use buses and vans to pick and drop their children at educational institutions and use of electric vehicles should be promoted and their purchase should be facilitated.

He directed the commissioners in the provinces to ensure action against the people involved in setting crop residues on fire and the factories burning plastic.

He said closing schools was no solution to smog issue, adding that their timings could be of changed to cut traffic in business hours.

Published in Dawn, November 18th, 2021

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