On Tuesday, WWF Pakistan held the seventh annual Green Office Confrence in Islamabad, focusing on the issue of air pollution. The conference was attended by academia, corporate partners, public sector leaders, and industry personalities from across the country.

The confrence was aimed towards establishing a consensus between the related public and private sector regarding the roles and actions that would be required to improve the air quality in urban centres. According to AirVisual, Lahore currently has one of the most polluted air in the world, and Karachi too ranks in the top ten most air polluted cities.

Smog impacts visibility, halting transport and road connectivty

Director General Hammad Naqi Khan addressed the confrence regarding the causes of air pollution. He mentioned that traffic, industries, burning of crops and solid waste, are the major contributors to smog. The smog is only expected to thicken in the coming days, he added. “Urban air pollution in the country is among the world’s most severe, significantly damaging human health, quality of life, economy and environment,” Mr Khan told conference attendees.

The confrence also featured Lauri Myllyvytra, energy and air pollution analyst, shared his research paper on the air quality of Pakistan’s urban centres with the audience after the speech. Furthermore, he discussed policies and frameworks implemented by other countries, such as China and US, in tackling smog.

Environmental Protection Department (EPD) Director General Syeda Malika discussed the Punjab Clean Air Action Plan, and the policies Punjab Government is implementing in order to reduce smog in Lahore. Syeda Malika claimed: “Burning of solid waste and crop stubble is banned and FIRs are registered against the violators. So far, the EPD has installed air quality monitors in Multan, Gujranwala, Faisalabad and Lahore.” she said. Such measure, she assured the attendees, will improve the quality of air.

Many have termed Smog as Lahore’s fifth season. Smog also impacts heritage sites, reacting with the white marble, damaging such structures

As brick kilns are a big contributor to air pollution, use of zig zag technology, which aims to decrease pollution, were presented by Associate Professor, Government College University, Dr Faiza Sharif. A panel discussion comprising environment, health, industrial and agricultural experts was then conducted, which was moderated by journalist Rina Saeed.

The confrence also showed resolve to educated the public about harms of air pollution and smog, which include lung diseases, asthma, skin diseases and other such afflictions.

Concluding the event, the chief guest, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam gave an insight into the Clean Green Pakistan Initiative. He claimed: “The government has already taken concrete steps, including planting trees, banning brick kiln operations and shifting brick kiln industry towards zig zag technology.” He said curbing open crop stubble and waste burning, controlling vehicular pollution, installation of scrubbers for polluting steel mills and most essentially monitoring local as well as cross border pollution movements, were some of the other initiatives.

He also awarded certificates of appreciation for substantial carbon emission reduction, under the WWF Green Office.


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