Joint efforts sought to solve pollution, other problems – 10 Dec 2022

LAHORE: There is a need to have a dialogue and agreement on environment at the national level to eliminate all types of pollution in the country so that the government and all stakeholders as well as the general public can play their role in solving pollution and other problems.

Closing schools and colleges for two or three days due to smog will not solve the problems, apart from reducing population pressure, industrial businesses in urban areas should be discouraged. To reduce the number of vehicles on the roads, public transport facilities should be restored, and all institutions should be bound to use only public transport.

These views were expressed by the discussants in the Jang Economic Session on “Smog, environmental pollution, climate change- Charter of Environment is need hour”. The panelists were Shahid Abbas Javira Qais, Rukhsana Zafar, and Rana Sajjad while moderated by Sikindar Lodhi.

Shahid Abbas said the smog and its effects have increased significantly in Pakistan over the past few years. Climate changes and decrease in rainfall increase the intensity of smog. There are ups and downs in the environmental pollution. Since last few years the problems of environment, flood and heat intensity have worsened. Due to this, the situation is reversed and creates a state of smog. The traffic smoke, burning of crops residue and brick-kilns smoke are the major causes of increasing air pollution and smog.

Instead of closing the kilns, zig-zag technology should be introduced, traffic should be controlled, the data collection system of the Environmental Protection Agency should be activated and an effective air monitoring system is urgently needed. The government should take effective measures first.

Javira Qais said public awareness about environmental changes is crucial. The increasing population, single vehicle system, wastage of industrial resources, burning of crops is increasing air pollution and hence smog is also increasing which causes growing problems for commoners.

There is a need to plant more trees and protect them to save the youth and future generation. The floods have caused a lot of damage. There is a need to plant trees in the areas that could strengthen the soil, build infrastructure as per global standards and most importantly implement the policies.

Rukhsana Zafar said the general public was responsible for the most of the environmental pollution with increased road traffic, industry and growing population, and by burning crops. There is a need to discourage personal vehicle use to control traffic pollution. Pollution could not be controlled by establishing monitoring centre, until people improve the environment itself. Public transport facilities should be provided in every province so that migration is minimised and stop converting agriculture land into the societies. Rana Sajjad said the fog and smog were major cause of health issues but the important is what we can do individually to control it. The implementation of the National Climate Policy is crucial. Immediate relief to people could be possible by individual efforts. The government should start public transport from small cities and bound the institutions to use public transport.

Further, the society needs education, the national policy needs to tell the people on a daily basis what they can do to improve the environment and what role can play.

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