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27,510 trees planted, LHC informed


May 18, 2018

LAHORE: Justice Ayesha A Malik of Lahore High Court Thursday disposed of the petitions about plantation of trees in Lahore as Punjab environment protection agency submitted its verification report regarding the comments filed by Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA) that it has planted 27,510 trees.

The secretary environment verified the report only to the extent that 3,200 trees have been planted which were stripped off during the construction of Orange Train Project. The PHA counsel submitted that 27,510 trees had been planted across Punjab.

The judge disposed of the interconnected petitions regarding plantation of trees by recording the statement mentioned in the verification report submitted by EPA that all appropriate measures would be taken to implement the undertaking in pith and substance that for every cutting of a tree 10 more trees would be planted.

The judge appreciated the efforts of PHA and EPA for complying with the environmental laws and taking an important step for the enforcement of fundamental rights of the citizens. Petitioners counsel Sheraz Zaka said that in 2015, before the Supreme Court of Pakistan, the Punjab government had given an undertaking that for every cutting of a tree it would plant 10 trees. In other interconnected petitions dealing to curb the smog, counsel submitted that Lahore was becoming one of the most polluted cities in the world and due to urban development and trees cutting, pollution levels and smog in winter rose to exponential height.

The judge accepted the request of Dr Pervez Hassan, chairperson smog commission members, to submit its report. Dr Pervez Hassan along with smog commission members Sheraz Zaka appeared and submitted that five committees had been constituted and had already submitted their recommendations and the final report is in the pipeline which would be completed in the first week of June.

The judge disposed of the trees cutting petitions whereas fixed the smog related cases for June 9 for the submission of smog commission report and recommendations to curb the aggravating smog levels.

Petitioners earlier had said that in 1952, the great smog was faced by London which thereafter implemented Environmental laws and in 1956 implemented clean air act 1956. He had submitted that in order to curb air and noise pollution during the times of British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, coal industry in entire Britain was closed off.

He had said that in Pakistan the reason behind the smog was the lack of enforcement of environmental laws and dysfunctional central laboratory in Lahore which is due to the negligence of Punjab environmental protection agency. He had submitted that the government had not taken any adequate awareness measures among the public.

He had said that the Punjab environmental protection agency failed to perform its statutory obligations and enforce pollution charge rules and the federal government was flouting its international obligations under Paris Agreement 2015.

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