Five-pronged strategy evolved to curb smog

By Ali Raza
May 20, 2024
Commuters make their way through a busy street amid smoggy conditions in Lahore. — AFP/File

LAHORE:The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has declared Lahore’s dust ‘fugitive dust’ and made a comprehensive strategy for its mitigation before smog season.


Environmental experts said PM2.5, which is commonly known as dust is one of the main components of smog, and taking earlier mitigation measures to control dust before start of the smog season by the EPA are welcoming. Environmentalists said in Lahore, ongoing development projects, movement of heavy traffic, absence of greenbelts, broken roads, free movement of sand filled trollies, black smoke-emitting steel mills in North Lahore, movement of heavy busses and trucks at Badami Bagh, Misri Shah and other localities of North Lahore and illegal operations of pyrolysis plants in the river bank area are some of the main reasons generating dust, which later turned into smog. In a recent meeting, headed by Director General EPA Imran Hamid Sheikh and attended by the officers from LDA, Ruda, traffic police, mines and minerals, LWMC and other departments concerned termed the dust as ‘fugitive dust.’

The meeting finalised a strategy to control ‘fugitive dust’ in Lahore before the smog season (starting in October and continuing till January). The meeting developed a five-pronged strategy after thorough consultation.

The meeting discussed changing the design of sand carrying trolleys and it was told that consultation with trolley makers has been completed and they have agreed to amend the design of trolleys of new ones and upgrade the old ones at a low cost. Proper SOPs of sand movement will be issued by EPA very soon, the meeting was told. The meeting also focused on proper and regular water sprinkling and cleaning of roads at entry and exit points of Lahore from 7-9 am daily and this task will be performed by LWMC. The meeting was told that entry/exit point roads experience huge accumulation of dust after HTV movement and this dust kept on spreading the whole day. Under-construction buildings (which place sand on adjacent roads) shall be fined & FIRs shall be registered against their owners by EPA, it was decided and a special squad of EPA has been dedicated for this purpose, which will also coordinate with LDA.

The meeting further decided that contractors of Under-construction roads, violating environmental SOPs, shall be fined and the amount shall be deducted from their bills. The meeting also decided that all unpaved patches along roads to be repaired by LDA till June end and identification shall be done jointly by EPA and LDA while PHA will do plantation on the green belts and center maidens of roads.