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CM seeks robust report to address smog issue

By Our Correspondent
January 19, 2024

LAHORE:Chinese Consul General Zhao Shiren, along with a delegation of Chinese environmental experts, convened with Mohsin Naqvi at the Chief Minister's Office.

Chinese Consul General Zhao Shiren, (R) talks with Mohsin Naqvi during the meeting on devising strategies to combat the prevalent issue of smog at the Chief Ministers Office in Lahore in this still on January 18, 2024. — Facebook/Govt of Punjab
Chinese Consul General Zhao Shiren, (R) talks with Mohsin Naqvi during the meeting on devising strategies to combat the prevalent issue of smog at the Chief Minister's Office in Lahore in this still on January 18, 2024. — Facebook/Govt of Punjab

The primary focus of the meeting was on devising strategies to combat the prevalent issue of smog in Lahore. During the meeting, a delegation of Chinese experts presented a preliminary report highlighting the causes of smog in Lahore. According to their findings, factors such as unnecessary use of organic and inorganic fuels, high atmospheric humidity, household dust and gas emissions, and pollutants from coal plants in India contribute to the smog in the region. The experts emphasised a specific ratio of different elements, including carbon dioxide and nitrogen, forming the smog.

Commending measures taken by Mohsin Naqvi in combating smog, the Chinese experts lauded the adoption of an effective policy. The chief minister stressed the need for a comprehensive and robust report to guide future government efforts in addressing the smog challenge.

Despite school closures, a ban on crop residue burning, and reduced traffic, the persistence of smog remains noticeable. The chief minister appreciated the arrival of Chinese experts, anticipating a comprehensive report that would aid in tackling the issue. He emphasised the importance of understanding the factors that render smog harmful to health.

Chinese Consul General Zhao Shiren acknowledged that solving the smog problem requires time, citing China's successful control efforts over seven years. He thanked the chief minister and his team for hosting and welcoming the Chinese environmentalists.

Punjab govt, Canada to sign accord on skilled manpower jobs

The chief minister had a meeting with Canadian High Commissioner Leslie Scanlon. Discussions centred around mutual interests, emphasising the proposed agreement between the Punjab government and Canada concerning the deployment of skilled manpower.

Mohsin Naqvi underscored the longstanding and robust friendship between Pakistan and Canada, highlighting the historic initiative to send young professionals to Canada for employment.

Expressing optimism, Mohsin Naqvi disclosed that this month, a Punjab government delegation is scheduled to visit Canada for the formal signing of the ground-breaking agreement. The chief minister believed that the accord would not only offer respectable employment opportunities to Pakistani youth but would also usher in a new era in Pakistan-Canada relations.

The deliberations also extended to heightened cooperation on environmental protection, particularly addressing the pressing issue of smog. Acknowledging the efforts to combat smog through artificial rain in Lahore, Canadian High Commissioner commended the significant strides made across various fields in a short span. Anticipating positive outcomes, the Commissioner expressed hope that the upcoming visit of the Pakistani delegation to Canada would further strengthen bilateral relations through increased interactions and exchange of delegations.

The chief minister added that the partnership aimed to extend collaboration on multiple fronts. He highlighted achievements such as the swift upgrade of 114 major hospitals and the successful completion of public welfare projects ahead of schedule. Mentioning the innovative initiative of providing 26,000 electric bikes and rickshaws without interest, he emphasised the government's commitment by imposing a ban on petrol bike purchases at the government level in Punjab.

Addressing environmental concerns, the chief minister outlined the installation of five anti-smog towers in Lahore, with the first tower expected to be operational in early February. He reassured the general public that comprehensive measures were being taken to combat smog effectively. In concluding remarks, Naqvi emphasised that the Punjab government's initiatives were geared towards providing relief and convenience to the common man, underscoring the pivotal role the upcoming visit to Canada would play in furthering bilateral relations.