Raja Basharat Opens Smog Control Room

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The Punjab government has set up a smog control room in Lahore to monitor the activities of field teams. Provincial Minister for Environment Protection (EPD), Cooperatives and Parliamentary Affairs Mohammad Basharat Raja inaugurated the smog control room set up in EPD. Chief Minister’s Coordinator for Environment Rana Sohail Ahmed and Secretary Environment Protection Usman Ali Khan were also present in the opening ceremony. The provincial minister inspected the control room and issued necessary instructions to the staff deputed there. Talking to the media, Muhammad Basharat Raja said that the impression that Lahore is the most polluted city in the world is not correct. “Currently, many cities in neighboring countries are more polluted than Lahore”, pointed out the minister. He said that even in October, the air quality index (AQI) of the most polluted area of Lahore has not gone above 180. “Smog monitoring system has been installed with the support of the World Bank” said Mr. Raja. He further said that the effects of burning crop residues in Indian Punjab also affect the border areas of Pakistan. “The issue of crop burning in India has been raised at international forums including the World Bank” minister said. He told that the field teams will be monitored with the help of a control room established in the environment protection department and a special app developed for the purpose. “This year preventive measures have been started from May, much ahead of the smog season. Currently, anti-smog squads and all relevant departments are fully active on the instructions of the Chief Minister” said Basharat. Environment Protection Minister Mohammad Basharat Raja said that remote areas are being monitored with the help of Sparco’s satellites. “Burning of crop residues immediately reported to the concerned Deputy Commissioner for necessary action under section 144”. He said that action was taken against 719 industrial units in one month for spreading air pollution. “Closing such a large number of factories do not mean that the factories will remain closed forever, they are opened after fines and installation of air pollution reducing devices”, he responded on a question. He said that the main cause of smog spread is vehicle smoke. “Anti-smog squads are keeping an eye on smoke-emitting vehicles at the entrances of Lahore”, concluded the minister.

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