The Pakistani government is violating the rights of its citizens to health and education by not tackling the hazardous air quality in the capital city of Lahore, a prominent rights group said on Friday
MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 22nd November, 2019) The Pakistani government is violating the rights of its citizens to health and education by not tackling the hazardous air quality in the capital city of Lahore, a prominent rights group said on Friday.
In an unprecedented step, Amnesty International has called for "Urgent Action," appealing to its supporters worldwide to pressure the Pakistani government into tackling the dangerous levels of smog that puts "every person" at risk in the city of over 10 million.
"The government's inadequate response to the smog in Lahore raises significant human rights concerns. The hazardous air is putting everyone's right to health at risk," Rimmel Mohydin, South Asia Campaigner at the watchdog, said, adding that the Pakistani authorities must stop downplaying the crisis and take emergency action.
According to data that the rights group said it received from the Pakistan Air Quality Initiative and the United States Consulate in Lahore, who have installed air quality monitors, the city has not seen a single day of healthy air in 2019. Furthermore, seven days in November have had "hazardous" air quality levels, the NGO said.
In addition, students missed three days of classes this month due to the local government ordering schools to close because of heavy air pollution.
The so-called smog season which runs from October to February is where poor fuel quality, uncontrolled emissions and crop burning worsens the quality of the already unhealthy air in the province of Punjab, the watchdog said in the statement.
The NGO has deemed this petition an Urgent Action campaign. Urgent Actions are a campaigning tool that the rights group has used for decades to mobilize support internationally for victims of human rights violations and for prisoners of conscience. This is the first time that an Urgent Action campaign has been launched on behalf of an entire city's population.
Pakistan joins India and China in having some of the lowest air quality in populous cities. Indian capital city New Delhi, with a population of over 20 million, shut down schools for several days due to air pollution earlier in the month.