The government has decided to take action against brick kilns contributing to the smog issue in Punjab and adjoining areas. The Environment Protection Department (EPD) of Punjab has directed that brick kilns using “old technology” in the province should be closed from Wednesday. This is a great initiative by the government as the breathing conditions in these areas are catastrophic and lead to a number of respiratory diseases along with deaths in the region. The cause of the problem, however, is going to be the loss of jobs at the end of those who are using old technology at the brick kilns.

Several of the government initiatives lack this vision at this point. A similar outcome was witnessed as a result of the government banning the production of plastic shoppers in the country. This lead to a protest and despite the government being in the right, their lack of holistic policies results in more masses aggravated. In this scenario, the government will continue to allow those who use the “zig-zag” technology in brick kilns and urge others to use similar technology. Such decisions will push the economy to adapt to environment-friendly product production along with catching up on the innovations of the world over.

The environment should be one of the foremost priorities of the government at this point. With climate change becoming an important discussion and climate activism finding support in Pakistan, it is important to invest in the issue so that Pakistan can sustain itself in the face of this challenge. Smog has been a problem for successive years now and anything adding to the problem should be curtailed, rather than just limiting to the blame game and looking towards our neighbours to provide a concrete solution.