pakistan
Friday Nov 19 2021
By
Web Desk

Lahore smog: Punjab announces 50% work from home, heavy fines for polluters

By
Web Desk
People commute along a street amid heavy smoggy conditions in Lahore on November 18, 2021. — AFP/File
People commute along a street amid heavy smoggy conditions in Lahore on November 18, 2021. — AFP/File

  • Activities exacerbating smog situation to be penalised.
  • Violators to be slapped with fine up to Rs100,000.
  • Lahore ranks among the worst cities in the world for air pollution.


LAHORE: The Punjab government on Friday directed private sector companies in Lahore to operate with 50% attendance till further notice as authorities take steps to deal with a worsening smog situation.

The development comes after the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday ordered the Punjab government to announce a 50% attendance policy for private offices.

Lahore regularly ranks among the worst cities in the world for air pollution — a mixture of low-grade diesel fumes, smoke from seasonal crop burn-off, and colder winter temperatures coalescing into stagnant clouds.

In a notification issued by the Punjab Disaster Management Authority's (PDMA) director-general, the provincial government also imposed a ban on several activities.

The bans

  • Burning of any type of crop residue
  • Vehicles emitting visible smoke and pollutants falling into inadmissible limits
  • All industries working without emission control systems and contributing to the deterioration in Air Quality Index
  • All stone crushers operating without wet scrubbers
  • Burning of all types of solid waste, tyres, rubber, and plastics
  • Sale and use of all types of sub-standard fuels
  • All types of encroachments, which cause hindrance in the smooth flow of traffic on public roads, including footpaths
  • Any kind of parking which may cause hindrance in the smooth flow of traffic
  • All types of activities without proper safeguards, which contribute to generating fugitive dust
  • Uncovered and open dumping/storage of construction material
  • Uncovered transportation of construction materials like sand, mud, and cement
  • Any unauthorised activity which may cause pollution

In case the authorities find individuals violating the orders, they will be charged under Section 188 of the Pakistan Penal Code, the notification said.

In the notification, relief commissioner Babar Hayat Tarar also directed all administrative secretaries falling under Punjab government to make plans for a 50% reduction of official vehicles of their departments, plying on roads, from November 25, 2021, to January 15, 2022.

The commissioners of Lahore, Faisalabad, Gujranwala and, Multan Divisions shall ensure similar arrangements for the reduction of official vehicles in their respective divisional headquarters, Tarar ordered.

The School Education Department and Higher Education Department shall ensure that public and private educational institutions increase the use of buses/vans by 50% for pick and drop of students, the government official added.

In line with the Lahore High Court's ruling on November 18, the Punjab government has also decided to impose heavy fines on individuals and companies responsible for exacerbating the smog situation.

The fines

ActivityFine in rupeesAction to be taken by
Burning of crop residue and municipal residue50,000Deputy commissioners and revenue officers under their administrative control
Brick kilns not on zig-zag methodology or emitting black smoke 50,000-100,000Environment Protection Department
Polluting and smoke emitting public and private transport2,000Transport Department and traffic police
Industrial units functioning without emission control equipment/devices50,000-100,000Deputy commissioners and revenue officers under their administrative control/Environment Protection Department