LAHORE: As part of measures to prevent smog, the Punjab government on Wednesday decided to impose Section 144 across the province to ban the burning of crop residues and garbage.

The decision was taken during a meeting chaired by Chief Secretary Abdullah Khan Sumbal at the Civil Secretariat. The administrative secretaries of different departments, including local government, housing and transport, director general of the Provincial Disa­ster Management Authority (PDMA) and the officers concerned participated in the meeting.

Mr Sumbal directed the officers to intensify the ongoing crackdown on industrial units and vehicles causing environmental pollution.

He said it was imperative to take pre-emptive measures against smog, adding that all the relevant departments should carry out collective efforts to mitigate the impact of pollution. He also issued orders to the Environ­mental Protection Depart­ment (EPD) secretary to prepare a framework for the prevention of smog.

The chief secretary said the ban on use of substandard fuel in steel mills and factories would be enforced and administrative and police officers would fully back the anti-smog operations. He asked the agriculture department to promote farm mechanisation to address the problem of stubble burning.

The EPD secretary, in his detailed briefing to the meeting, said anti-smog squads had been formed in all districts. He said the crackdown was underway on industries and vehicles causing air pollution.

Giving details, he mentioned that this year the authorities conducted 19,000 inspections and imposed Rs440 million fines, besides registering 883 cases and sealing 664 units for causing pollution. A control room had been set up in the EPD to oversee the anti-smog measures, he added.

Published in Dawn, September 22nd, 2022

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