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Friday Nov 15 2019

As smog chokes Lahore, Punjab mulls artificial rain to avoid catastrophe


LAHORE: Following scattered rain, smog in Lahore reached hazardous level in Lahore on Thursday, forcing the provincial government to think about some immediate solutions, such as artificial rain.

The idea of artificial rain was discussed in a meeting held under the chairmanship of Commissioner Lahore Division Asif Bilal Lodhi. He said that the government has started working on the concept and could execute this idea, if smog level go up some more.

Commissioner Lahore Division said that smog had become a serious challenge for urban cities like Lahore and there was a need of permanent planning of preventive and remedial strategy and action against smog because there is absolutely no compromise on human health. 

He said that environment, traffic police, transport, district administrations, agriculture and information departments must put their full energy to curb smog and raise public awareness.

He said that hitherto 12 environment teams were working for anti-smog campaign in Lahore but now 36 teams would be active in Lahore from today (Friday) and teams would check the vehicles entering into the city at night. 

He said that traffic police and all 18 zonal officers of MCL would also work with environment teams. He said all departments were working efficiently separately but coordinated efforts would be more fruitful.

Commissioner Lahore directed DCs of Sheikhupura, Nankana Sahib and Kasur to sensitise their efforts to the level of Lahore because those districts were adjoining to each other. 

He said there was zero-tolerance on burning of crops’ stubble and on emissions from brick-kilns, vehicles and industrial units. He said that crackdown would be continued on kilns without zigzag technology.

He also directed that fitness certificates for all government vehicles must be renewed within next three days. He said massive public awareness campaign was the need of the hour and that must be reflected on the media as well. 

He directed DCs to get pin point location from satellite imagery to curtail crop burning and for targeted crackdown. He said that not only Lahore, but Nankana Sahib, Kasur and Sheikhupura were also facing smog condition severely.

As per Air Quality Index of US Embassy in Lahore the level of pm 2.5 reached to 342. Meanwhile, Met officials said that a westerly wave is affecting most parts of the country and likely to persist until tomorrow (Saturday). 

They predicted that on Friday (today) widespread rain/wind-thunderstorm is expected in Upper Khyber Pakhtunkhwa while at scattered places in Punjab, Lower Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Northeastern Balochistan, Upper Sindh, Islamabad, Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir. 

CTO Lahore Capt (r) Liaqat Ali, DG Environment Tanvir Warraich, Additional Commissioner Tariq Qureshi, ADCR Lahore Safdar Virk, ACG Muhammad Jafar, and Secretary RTA Ghias-ud-Din participated in the meeting. All DCs and ACs joined the meeting through a video link.