Govt fails to control air pollution in Lahore

STAFF REPORT LHR: The people of Lahore city continue to suffer with polluted air while the authorities are lacking interest in redressing the menace, which is a direct threat to human health.

The Air Quality Monitoring Systems (AQMS), run by the Punjab Environment Protection Department (EPD), is not working properly, which means that nobody knows the actual situation of air pollution in a city with population of more than 100 million.

The AQMS aimed at monitoring the air quality and pollution level in Lahore. The monitoring system today is almost out of order while EPD doesnt bother to maintain its annual repairing and maintenance on time.

In 2005, the Ministry of Environment in collaboration with JICA, started a project “Establishment of Environmental Monitoring System in Pakistan” to strengthen the monitoring capacity of federal and provincial environment protection agencies (EPAs).

The project was aimed at establishing the foundation of EPA Punjabs building capacity in order to enhance regulatory compliance and environmental management.

Following the agreement, the Punjab government had received three ambient air-monitoring stations that were installed in Lahore in 2007.

These three ambient air monitoring stations were equipped with 16 analysers. These AQMS remained fully functioning until 2010.

Remarks at both reports regarding AQMS mention that missing values were due to rapid load shedding and AVR tripping.

Moreover, in fiscal year 2015-16, a sum of Rs 28 million was allocated for the maintenance and repairing but the AQMS are still not in proper working condition.

The EPD Lab director said that the department would soon purchase new local made AQMS that are easy to repair and maintain at low cost.

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