LAHORE: Deputy Commissioner Muhammad Ali says that several environment department officers were involved in leaking information to factory owners before district administration’s raids.

In a report given to a district administration committee, he also deemed the desealing of some smog-causing facilities inappropriate.

“Some officials were undoubtedly involved in providing information about impending raids to the proprietors of the firms,” DC Ali told Dawn.

“With this in mind, we have delegated patwaris to inspect such industrial units and notify our staff in an effort to close such units.”

Several environment dept officers leak information to factories before raids: DC

When asked about a report submitted to him by the committee regarding desealing of factories by the environment department teams, he said, as per this report, the desealing of some factories shouldn’t have been done by the officials. But he was quick to defend his officials too.

“But it doesn’t mean that the district administration is silent on such an important issue, as our teams did a lot to control smog. We sealed several factories for causing pollution. Our teams also lodged FIRs against the factory owners, and individuals involved in stubble burning, etc,” he claimed.

Mr Ali said the eight anti-smog squads were in the field to close those factories, premises, etc, causing smog. The administration is also carrying out water sprays (sprinkling) at the entry/exit points of Lahore to avert dust.

“Since the 43 per cent share in smog comes from traffic, we, in association with the traffic police and other civic agencies the number number of teams are being increased from two to 20. These teams would inspect vehicles releasing carbon emissions massively and get such vehicles impounded,” the DC maintained.

Meanwhile, in a meeting held on Friday, the Lahore commissioner sought to increase the number of teams to control the smog created by traffic to 20. He also warned of severe action under PEEDA Act against those showing negligence in controlling smog.

He also warned of action against those littering the city besides burning stubbles, thus causing smog in the city.

When smog is discussed, it emerges the situation has extremely worsened, as hundreds of furnaces and other kinds of factories near Mehmood Booti, its adjoining areas (Ravi Industrial estate) and other parts of the city continue to operate without having proper instruments (scrubber machines) to control the smog allegedly in connivance with the officials, causing a rise in the smog.

Published in Dawn, December 3rd, 2022

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