close
Advertisement
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!
January 17, 2020

LHC orders action against industriesfor ecocide

Lahore

January 17, 2020

LAHORE: Lahore High Court Chief Justice Mamoon Rashid Sheikh on Thursday directed the Punjab government to take stern action against industries violating environmental laws and also sought report about effects on climate with functioning of coal power plants in the province.

Hearing petitions relating to smog, the chief justice expressed concern over growing air pollution and shrinking greenbelts in urban areas. “Do they really allocate space for greenbelts in Lahore’s master plan?” the infuriated chief justice asked the officials from different government departments present in the courtroom.

He also noted that the cities had gradually lost their boundaries due to ill planning of the authorities concerned. An official from Lahore Development Authority told the court that new master plan for Lahore was being drafted to bring improvements.

He said Rs500 million had been allocated for a four-year plan to plant trees in the city. He admitted that trees had not been planted along Ring Road. Representing a petitioner, Advocate Ahmad Rafay Alam submitted that the environment department took no affective step to monitor smog and its density.

He said there had been no drop in smog but the department could present piles of papers to justify its performance. Additional Advocate General Asif Cheema told the court that the chief minister was going to head meeting of an environmental committee soon. He said the committee will set minimum standard of air quality.

He said the government sealed 747 brick kilns for not complying with the environmental regulations and they had been offered low markup loan through Bank of Punjab to install zigzag technology.

Advocate Azhar Siddique, counsel of another petitioner, pointed out that there was no mechanism to measure effects of coal power plants working in the province. The law officer said Sahiwal coal power project had no serious effect on crops, however, there had been a slight decrease in production of cotton. He explained that the decrease in cotton production was in fact was due to increase in production cost.

Chief Justice Sheikh observed that import of cotton from neighbouring countries was also a main reason behind the crisis. He said the government needed to offer subsidy to farmers in fertiliser and pesticides.

The counsel also referred to industries burning tyres to produce furnace oil. The CJ directed the government to identify such units in the province and take strict action against them. He also sought separate reports from all deputy commissioners in this regard. Further hearing was adjourned for ten days.