Environmentalists have rejected the recently-formulated Smog Policy, saying it lacked implementation mechanism.

Addressing a press conference at Lahore Press Club on Tuesday, they said no policy could be formulated without assessing the nature and intensity of the issue. The EPA lacked quality equipment and trained staff to gauge air quality, they said.

The environmentalists raised their concerns a day after the Lahore High Court expressed its dismay at the Punjab government’s anti-smog measures. The court of Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah remarked the Punjab government’s performance appears to be limited only to official documents. Lahore Bachao Tehreek (LBT) rep Imrana Tiwana told the media that air quality monitors installed by EPA were substandard. She said that these equipments were not calibrated to measure fine particulate matters (PM2.5), the most hazardous air pollutant. She lamented that government has spent billions of rupees from public exchequer on development projects ignoring the basic facilities. She said that toxic smog was taking lives and government was acting like a silent spectator. She questioned formulating a policy without knowing the level and nature of pollutants.  Principal College of Earth and Environmental Sciences Dr Sajid Rasheed said that lack of interest on the part of relevant authorities was responsible for the prevailing situation.  Smog has enveloped the cities but the government was still reluctant to act, he said, adding, the EPA lacked capacity to measure the level of different pollutants.  Pakistan Environmental Consultant Association (PECA) President Syed Nihal Asghar accused EPA director Tauqir Qureshi of amending Punjab Environmental Quality Standards to procure airpointers that lacked United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) certification. He also accused EPA of replacing Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) trained staff with untrained and inefficient people. He said that holding the stubble burning in India solely responsible for the smog was not justifiable without assessing the level and nature of pollutants.  –Staff Reporter