It has been decided to take striction action against those causing air and environmental pollution (burning of crop stubble, garbage, and industrial, vehicular emissions) as part of Punjab government’s efforts to combat smog. Under Section 144 burning of crop residue and garbage would be banned, besides closure of old technology coal-fired brick kilns across the province.

The decision was taken during a meeting held at Civil Secretariat on Tuesday with Chief Secretary Punjab Yousaf Naseem Khokhar in chair.

Addressing the meeting, the Chief Secretary said to mitigate the factors behind smog there is a need to adopt preventive measure and enhance awareness. He mentioned that the government is taking concrete measure to deal with the threat of smog, adding that use of substandard fuel in factories and burning of crop stubble and garbage would not be allowed in any case.

Yousaf Naseem directed all the relevant departments to strictly implement the instructions on smog control, warning that no negligence would be tolerated in this regard. He also urged people to play their role in efforts to protect the environment.

Special Secretary Home Department told the meeting that the Punjab Home Department has imposed section 144 in the province, banning burning of crop residue, municipal solid waste, tyres, plastic, rubber and leather items etc.

The Secretary Environment told the meeting that old BTK technology brick kilns would be kept closed during the time to be determined in consultation with stakeholders and only new Zig Zag technology brick kilns would be allowed to operate. Strict action would be taken against the violators, he added.

He said that the Environment Department has also banned construction of new brick kilns having BTK technology and now only Zig Zag technology brick kilns can be set up that would reduce environmental pollution by 70 percent and use of coal by 30 percent.

The Secretary Environment maintained that awareness workshops are being arranged for brick kilns’ owners to guide them about Zig Zag technology and as many as 316 brick kilns have been converted on this technology. He said that so far 130 steel mills have been shut down for causing air pollution whereas 46 steel mills have got installed dry scrubbers (equipment to control pollution). 

The meeting was attended by administrative secretaries of different departments, chief meteorologist and officers concerned.