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APP
June 10, 2019

‘Air pollution causes 135,000 deaths annually’

National

A
APP
June 10, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Former federal minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Nisar A Memon has said that it is a challenge to our political leadership to address estimated 135,000 deaths per year attributed to ambient air pollution, the leading cause of sickness and deaths in Pakistan.

The ambient pollution namely smog a public health emergency mostly in Punjab specially Lahore, and $50 billion estimated economic burden of air pollution was part of the challenge faced by the country’s leadership, he added. The citizens would be scrutinising the upcoming budget to see how the planners address the scourge of air pollution and ensure adherence to the constitution of Pakistan which assures them in articles 9 and 14, the right to clean environment as fundamental human right, he maintained. The parliament which represents the people would also be held accountable for any omission in this regards, Memon said. He said that air pollution was a serious threat globally as well as in Pakistan causing deaths, health hazards and economic burden. However, 5th June was observed each year globally, for over 40 years, as the World Environment Day, he informed. This year, the theme was ‘Beat Air Pollution’, which was caused by industries in the form of release of poisonous untreated gases, agriculture with burning of crop residual and releasing harmful particulate matter (PM), a finely divided solid and liquid particles of organic or inorganic nature that remains suspended in the atmosphere causing respiratory disorders, transportation with emission of diesel gases and households using wood and animal dung in the absence of clean natural gas, he continued. Like in the past, he added, we shall hold conferences in posh environment and make announcements but the time had come for citizens to wake up and hold accountable everyone who makes commitment to combat air pollution on war footage.

Let there be an Air Pollution Policy with specific programmes and investment with time line and key milestones, he added. He said that although trees were great at filtering many harmful gases but were inadequate at filtering PM 2.5 the most dangerous element of smog. He believed that creating massive awareness in localities and areas most affected could play a leading rule.

It was high time that we made it a habit and part of our cleanliness, he added. The incumbent government which had priority of economic revival had no option but to develop technical capacity and capability to beat ambient pollution since they were under constitutional oath to provide fundamental human rights to its citizens, he added.