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LAHORE: The Relief Commissioner Punjab has imposed complete ban with immediate effect on burning of any type of crop residue, vehicles emitting visible smoke and pollutants falling into inadmissible limits while all brick kilns built on old methodology will not be allowed to operate from November 07, 2020.

According to a notification issued by the Punjab Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) on Thursday, the relief commissioner said that there is recorded evidence of persistent deterioration in the air quality index of the city of Lahore in particular, and Punjab in general, from satisfactory level to moderately and poorly polluted levels, which is likely to cause breathing discomfort, respiratory tract diseases including asthma besides heart-related ailments amongst children and older adults specifically and the people of all age brackets in general.

The notification adds that there is a continuous trend of new Covid-19 patients throughout the province and further overlap of conducive conditions for respiratory tract diseases due to smog could exacerbate the casualty rate in the province of Punjab.

The relief commissioner also citing the orders of Supreme Court of Pakistan and Lahore High Court for taking necessary remedial measures to control smog further banned working of all industries working without emission control system and contributing to deterioration in Air Quality Index (AQI).

It may be worth mentioning that the provincial cabinet of the Punjab, in its 36th meeting, has declared smog as calamity under Section 3 of The Punjab National Calamities (Prevention & Relief) Act 1958.

The notification issued by the relief commissioner has also banned working of 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 substandard fuels, all types of encroachments which cause hindrance in the smooth flow of traffic, all kind of parking which may cause hindrance in the smooth flow of traffic, all types of activities without proper safeguard which contribute in generating fugitive dust and uncovered and open dumping/storage of construction material.

Uncovered transportation of construction and other material like sand, mud and cement, any unauthorized activity which may contribute to formation of smog have also been banned under the same notification.

The notification talking about brick kiln further said that all brick kilns built on zigzag methodology shall be allowed to operate as per SOPs devised by the environment protection department while rest of the brick kilns should be converted to zigzag technology by December 31, 2020.

"No brick kiln built on methodology other than zigzag will be allowed to operate after 31st December, 2020," the notification concluded.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020