Punjab government has decided to bring the provincial environmental protection policy in line with the latest international standards.
During the meeting of the Punjab Environment Protection Council chaired by the Provincial Environment Protection Minister Mohammad Basharat Raja in the Civil Secretariat, consideration was given to the establishment of car free zones in Lahore and the setting up of traffic days there. It was suggested that more and more large-leaved trees should be planted in the city as such plants help in curbing the spread of dust. Secretary Protection Punjab Environment Usman Ali Khan, Director General Zeeshan Sikandar and other members attended the meeting. Chairman Council Muhammad Basharat Raja directed that the instructions of Lahore High Court must be taken into account in the policy making process related to the environment and the flaws found in the standards set earlier should be removed. He said that this year’s smog situation is better than last year, but he warned that the risks of environmental pollution may increase in the coming years due to population growth. He directed that the media should be informed about the measures related to environment protection on a daily basis. He said that we are bound to implement the commitments made in international conventions including COP 26. Punjab Environment Protection Council suggested that vehicles older than 30 years should be banned in Lahore from October to December and the use of electric public transport should be encouraged. Environment Protection Minister Mohammad Basharat Raja said that obstacles in the use of electric vehicles will have to be removed. The council suggested restricting the establishment of industries in Punjab only to designated estates and parks, while expressing concern over cleanliness without sprinkling water on roads. Muhammad Basharat Raja said that before approving the new policy, it should be given more thought and the concerned departments should be taken into the loop. He said that the secretaries of the relevant departments should come in the next meeting of the council so that effective measures can be suggested.