Lahore again shrouded in toxic smog


According to Punjab’s Environment Protection Department, there are three causes of pollutants in Lahore and its adjoining areas. Majority of the smog-forming particles billow in from India, where authorities are trying to crack down on crop burnings and coal plant emissions. As for local contributors to the pollution stew, in the city of 11 million, there are 7 million registered motor vehicles, which have been dirtying the air all year round. Then, there is the industrial sector in urban areas. “Since last year, in northern Lahore, we have shut down at least 200 units of steel factories,” Tauqeer Ahmad Qureshi, Director of the government-run Environment Protection Agency, tells, “They will have to prove that they have taken measures to be more environment-friendly before they are allowed to open again.”

On Oct. 21, the Punjab government released its policy document on controlling smog in the city. The suggestions include controlling the burning of municipal waste, banning the burning of crop residue, better traffic management and launching a public awareness campaign. It is unclear if any of these rafts of measures have been implemented as yet.

Last November, at the time of onset, Lahore had only one air quality monitoring station. This time, the EPD transported five more from cities, including Faisalabad, Sahiwal, Chakwal. Data from the stations has not been released to the public.



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