Sunday June 23, 2024

LHC CJ annoyed at govt inaction to check smog

By our correspondents
November 08, 2016


Lahore High Court Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah on Monday expressed annoyance at the Punjab government’s inaction to take adequate measure to control smog and air pollution in the provincial capital.

The chief justice was hearing a petition moved by PTI leader Walid Iqbal through Sheraz Zaka advocate, stating that a huge fog had engulfed Lahore, affecting visibility and forcing people to stay indoors.

The chief justice summoned secretary environment and secretary health on a short notice to apprise the court of measures taken so far to control the smog. Pursuant to court’s order both secretaries turned up before the court but failed to give a satisfactory reply regarding public awareness and dissemination of information among public at large about the spillover effects of smog.

The chief justice was told by the secretary that the situation had aggravated this year due to the burning of crops in Indian State Haryana. The chief justice, however, dismissed their assertion and sought comments from them as well as directed them to appear in person on December 14. Sheraz Zaka advocate contended that this smog was a highly toxic and could cause serious respiratory problems to the people who may find it difficult to breathe, adding that smog could cause eyes and nose irritation.

In Lahore, over the past years, a smog descends every December. It is so thick that even flights to Lahore are cancelled. In the last five years, this smog has grown worse, owing to poor air quality and high amount of pollution caused by vehicles and factories.

The cutting down of trees and rapid industrialisation has not helped matters as well, something that the development-focused authorities should do well to heed as well.

Lahore is now considered as one of the most polluted cities in Asia. In winter, all the pollutants tend to collect in the lower level of the atmosphere due to rains, cold spells and dry condition, he added.  Sheraz Zaka argued that heavy smog means that the ground levels contain more ozone than usual. He pointed out that government had also ratified United Nations conventions on climate change but unfortunately not complying with its international obligations.