LHC slams Punjab government for not taking measures against Smog

Lahore (Monitoring Desk): Lahore High Court Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah slammed the Punjab government for not taking appropriate measures agianst smog.

Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah even reminded an officer of the Environment Protection Department (EPD) that the authorities failed to take emergency actions.

The CJ was hearing a petition moved by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leader Walid Iqbal through Advocate Sheraz Zaka questioning the government’s inefficiency to control the smog for the second consecutive year.

“Life of citizens is being reduced and you people (authorities) have not awakened from slumber,” the chief justice observed with regret when the officer failed to furnish latest figures of Air Quality Index (AQI) in the provincial metropolis.

Justice Shah said the government should have made the ratings of the AQI public but it was unable to present the statistics before the court even.

When asked, the EPD’s officer told the court that six machines had been installed in Lahore to measure the AQI. He said it required declaration of health emergency if the AQI crossed the rating of 430.

Barrister Sarah Belal, amicus curie in the case, told the court that the smog had been causing health-related issues among the citizens. She said its effects especially on school-going children were irreversible.

Referring to figures being circulated on social media, the chief justice observed that Pakistan had crossed the minimum international standards of air pollution and the authorities had not been sensitised to the dangers.

In a dialogue with the government’s lawyer, the CJ said the court just wanted to know as to what the authorities learned from the last year’s spell of smog and the measures adopted since then to control it. It appeared that all working of the government was paper based only, Justice Shah said.