ISLAMABAD - Balochistan Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has banned the vehicles creating air pollution in Quetta.

An official of Balochistan EPA Muhammad Khan said the government had phased out 100 buses in the last month creating air pollution running on intercity routes and different city thoroughfares that were using non-compliant diesel fuel containing high ratio of hazardous sulphur dioxide.

There were more than 10,000 two-stroke auto rickshaws running in Quetta city which was causing dangerous situation with respect to smog outbreak in the city.

The government had banned them to ensure pollution-free environment in the city, he added.

“Our teams are equipped with proper gadgets to check the emissions of vehicular fleets at random,” he added.

“At present, most of the air pollution is mainly due to increased vehicular emissions and unbridled cars entering in the Quetta city,” he added.

The Balochistan EPA, he said had issued notices to public and private departments with large fleets of buses plying on the roads of Quetta to maintain their vehicles to avoid dark smoke releases from their vehicles.

He said it was imperative to initiate an action against the vehicular pollution.

However, open burning of garbage or organic rubble was also creating air pollution and we would definitely penalize such people to shun this practice. “It is also the responsibility of the masses to avoid such practice and bring a behavioural change for a clean environment,” he added.

Officials of Balochistan EPA had inspecting different sites in the city on regular basis regarding polluting air with open burning. “Instant garbage burning in the vicinity has been observed with more than five blazes set at the same location with impunity,” he added.

He said around 89 brick kilns were operating in the adjoining areas of the provincial capital that had badly affected the air leaving a thick layer of pollution suspended in the ambiance. He said the brick kilns were shutdown and shifted outside the city as a single brick kiln was using over 10-12 tonnes of coal per day that was causing increase in smoke and pollutant ratio.

“The two furnace oil plants have also been ordered to shift their business out of the city. There is 100 percent compliance report in this regard and it has helped improve the air quality in Quetta city,” he added.

Balochistan government has planned to install10 new Air Quality Monitoring Stations (AQMS) in the border areas to monitor the air quality in the province.

Muhammad Khan said the Balochistan government had allocated Rs 600 million for the installment of AQMS on various sites including Taftan, Chamman, Gwadar, Khuzdar, Hub, Loralai and other locations.

The provincial EPA had been collecting air quality data since 2003 which was not available in digital form, he said adding that the authority would make its efforts to make the data online. “The air quality recorded in Quetta has ideal level of declined pollutants,” he added.

The official said the provincial government had declared Astola Island as a marine protected area and was also working to protect the environment of Charna Island near Karachi.