The Environment Protection Department (EPD) on Tuesday presented a smog emergency health plan before the Lahore High Court (LHC)
LAHORE, (Pakistan Point News - 14th Nov, 2017 ):The Environment Protection Department (EPD) on Tuesday presented a smog emergency health plan before the Lahore High Court (LHC). Secretary EPD Saif Anjum presented the plan on Tuesday evening before LHC Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah who was hearing a petition filed by Shiraz Zaka Advocate against smog and environmental pollution. Highlighting the salient features of the plan, he submitted that six air quality monitoring units had been installed and air quality index (AQI) would be maintained on 24 hour basis.
He said that if the AQI value varied from 0-150, then it was considered good and no advisory or action was required on this level. However, if the value extended from 151-200, then it could cause breathing discomfort to sensitive persons and restrictions on air pollution generating units and constructions activities might be considered. He said if the AQI value extended from 201-250, then it might cause breathing discomfort to people with lung and heart diseases and shutting down of air pollution generating industrial units as well as restrictions on use of motor vehicles could be considered.
He said if the AQI value varied between 251-350, then it could cause discomfort to people on prolong exposure, and shutting down of construction activities, advise for children and elderly to remain indoor and shutting down of primary schools could be considered. The secretary said that if the AQI level extended between 351-430, then it might cause respiratory illness to the people on prolong exposure and could deeply affect people with lung and heart diseases, and shutting down of all educational institutions, advice for all to remain indoor, everyone to wear mask when outdoor and closing down of parks might be advised.
He said that if AQI value ranged above 430, then it could affect healthy people besides serious health impacts on people with lung and heart diseases, and imposition of medical emergency with the suspension of all outdoor activities and evacuation to other places could be considered. The secretary also briefed the court about meeting held to evaluate steps to curtail effects of the smog and decision taken in this regard. He further said that the smog was declining and a steep decline was witnessed after the rain and the present level was below 150 AQI value.
At this, the Chief Justice observed that a detailed written interim order would be issued and these steps would be made a part of it. However, the court observed that these steps were interim and directed the secretary for refining the plan. Earlier, during the proceedings on Tuesday morning, the Chief Justice had ordered the secretary EPD to formulate a smog emergency health plan immediately while observing that the department failed to perform its duties in connection with smog. The amicus curiae apprised the court about steps taken in neighbouring countries on rising the AQI levels.