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LHC asks govt to devise policy on smog

LHC asks govt to devise policy on smog

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court chief justice on Wednesday directed the Punjab government to devise a policy on smog phenomena and ensure functioning of environmental laboratories in the province by first week of April, 2017.

The chief justice was hearing identical petitions filed by Walid Iqbal of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and others in connection with the recent spell of thick smog that engulfed Lahore and other parts of the province for many days, affecting people, especially the children.

Environment Secretary retired Capt Saif Anjum appeared before the court and stated that Rs388 million funds had been approved for environmental laboratories and recruitment of the staff was in process. He said the laboratories would be fully functional within next four months.

The secretary further revealed that policy on smog was in the pipeline and would be finalised soon.

Earlier, Advocate Sheraz Zaka argued that the government had created a misconception that smog was caused due to burning of agricultural waste in Indian province of Punjab.

He said the reason behind the smog was lack of enforcement of environmental laws and dysfunctional central laboratory in Lahore, blaming Punjab Environmental Protection Agency for the negligence.

He argued the government had not taken adequate measures to create awareness among the public on the issue.

Mr Zaka further argued that fundamental rights of citizens were at stake and similar situation was witnessed in London when several deaths occurred there because of smog in 1952.

Published in Dawn December 15th, 2016

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