LAHORE - The Parks and Horticulture Authority told the Lahore High Court on Wednesday that it had planted 27,510 trees along Canal Road of the provincial capital to ensure greenery and counter environmental pollution.  “Ten trees were planted against cutting of one tree,” authority’s lawyer Waqar A Sheikh told Justice Ayesha A Malik who was hearing a number of identical petitions questioning smog, environmental pollution and cutting of tree in the city. 

The authority said 1,301 trees were cut from the canal road sides during the road-widening project and 27,510 trees of various species were planted alongside the canal to overcome the deficiency.

The PHA opposed the petition, saying that it was not maintainable and termed the move false and frivolous step and pleaded the court to dismiss it.

After making part of the judicial record, Justice Ayesha Malik directed the Smog commission to come up with its report on the next hearing, April 17.

LHC Chief Justice had formed the smog commission to examine the causes of smog and to enforce the environmental laws to prevent effects of smog/air pollution.

The commission was headed by Dr Pervez Hassan and other members included advocate Sheraz Zaka,secretary environment Saif Anjum,o ffice bearer nominated by president Lahore High Court Bar Association, Barrister Sarah Belal ,secretary health Najam Shah and additional advocate general Anwar Hussain.

Advocate Sheraz Zaka argued that  Smog commission was constituted to implement the smog policy and environmental laws across the province.

 He said Lahore was becoming one of the most polluted cities in the world. He pointed out that two years have elapsed and parks and horticultural authority has not bothered to file reply regarding plantation of trees.

He said earlier had said that in 1952 the great smog was faced by London which thereafter implemented Environmental laws and in 1956 implemented clean air act 1956. He had submitted that in order to curb air and noise pollution during the times of British prime minister Margaret Thatcher,coal industry in entire Britain was closed off.

He had said that in Pakistan the reason behind the smog was the lack of enforcement of environmental laws and dysfunctional central laboratory in Lahore which is due to the negligence of Punjab environmental protection agency. He had submitted that the government had not taken any adequate awareness measures amongst the public.

He had said that the Punjab environmental protection agency failed to perform its statutory obligations and enforce pollution charge rules and the federal government was flouting its international obligations under Paris Agreement 2015.He pointed out that even EPA testing laboratory was not functioning.

He requested that the provincial government and environmental protection agency should be asked whether the industrial activity taking place in the city was being scrutinized under Pollution Charge Rules 2001 or the agency is performing its statutory obligations. He also requested to inquire from the authorities as to what remedial measures have been taken to address the prevailing weather condition arising from the toxic smog.