LHC Intervenes Amid Smog
The Lahore High Court on Friday requested proposals from the Punjab government to mitigate the haze, hinting at ordering the closure of schools for three days and allowing employees to work from home two days per week.
The provincial authorities, according to Justice Shahid Karim, didn’t seem very serious about reducing smog. He lamented the fact that the haze had been spreading rather than being reduced.
The judge was deliberating public interest petitions on several environmental issues.
The judge ordered the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to create regulations that would increase the penalties for brick kilns and other enterprises that broke the law and policy.
The judge advised the authorities that instead of sealing a brick kiln or factory after infractions, they should be demolished.
Ask Sherry For Help
Justice Karim also suggested that the Punjab government ask Sherry Rehman, the federal minister in charge of climate change, for assistance.
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He instructed the Punjab government representative to “tell the federal government that smog in Punjab has reached an alarming level.”
International Environmental Specialists
The judge pointed out that the authorities also needed to enlist the help of international environmental specialists.
He asked the Punjab environment secretary for a compliance report on the fines for violators and gave the secretary instructions to cooperate with the relevant ministries to develop proposals for closing schools for three days and allowing employees to work from home two days each week.
Regulations Governing the Industrial Sector
He also requested a report on any changes to or enhancements to the current regulations governing the industrial sector.
Justice Karim acknowledged that haze has been causing health issues, but added that the court would make a decision after hearing from the relevant ministries.
Later, the hearing was postponed until the next week.