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November 8, 2018

Effective system to cut smog impact needed


November 8, 2018

LAHORE:Pakistan needs an effective governance system to permanently reduce the impact of smog. Joint initiatives by public and private organisations should also be taken to reduce negative impact of smog on public and economy.

These views were expressed by the participants in Jang Economic Session on “Impact of Smog on Public and Economy.” The panelists were Syeda Malika, Prof Zafar Iqbal, Javed Kiyani, Sohail Lashari, Riaz Khan, Dr Asim Mehmood and Bilal Akber. The event was hosted by Sikandar Lodhi.

Syeda Malika said practical steps had already been started to control the environmental pollution. She said pollution occurred in summer too, but the high mercury level dispersed it, and it took shape of smog in winter. There is a need to create awareness about smog round the year, she added.

She said implementation of a comprehensive plan was started under Punjab Green Development Project to make the province smog-free by promoting eco-friendly technology. She said air quality monitoring systems were installed at six places in Punjab.

Prof Zafar Iqbal said that industrialisation and urbanisation increased smog which was causing a number of diseases to the elderly people and children. He said everyone should avoid burning garbage. He said people should wear mask and adopt other precautionary measures to avoid it.

Javed Kiyani said the number of deaths in India due to smog had crossed hundreds of thousands while Pakistanis too were not safe from the adverse impact of smog. He said smog travelled to Pakistan from India after Indian farmers burnt stubble of their crops. He said steps were being taken to reduce industrial pollution. He urged that the environment department should also support the industries in shifting to alternative energy resources and modern boilers to reduce industrial pollution. He called for promoting public transport and cycling culture to reduce pollution. He said sugar industry supplied energy to the government so the government should provide patronage to it, and stop use of coal for energy generation at every level.

Sohail Lashari said that smog increased in Pakistan in November and December due to burning of crop stubble in India. Brick kilns and waste burning also contributes to it, he added. He called for making air monitoring system effective, reducing coal power generation, introducing zigzag technology in brick-kilns and help industry shift to modern technology.

Riaz Khan said 900 points were highlighted in India where stubble was burnt, out of which, 700 were in Indian Punjab. In Pakistan, it was controlled substantially and only 92 points were identified in the country, out of which, 89 were in Punjab, he said. Dr Asim Mehmood said the public should also adopt responsible behaviour to reduce the impact of smog while government should promote public transport instead of use of personal cars by the people.

Bilal Akber said permanent and effective governance system was required to reduce the smog impact permanently as the smog had engulfed Lahore and its adjoining areas. It is not only affecting the human health but also negatively affecting the economy, he added. He called for timely awareness among public about the effects of smog impact.

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