ISLAMABAD: Giving an insight into ‘Clean Green Pakistan’ initiative, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam has said that present government is committed to playing its part in combating this challenge.

In this regard, the government has already taken concrete steps including planting trees, banning brick kiln operations, shifting brick kiln industry towards zig-zag technology, 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, said the advisor.

WWF-Pakistan held its seventh Annual Green Office Conference here on Tuesday. The theme of this year’s conference was air pollution, with particular focus on the growing issue of smog. The aim of the event was to turn the tide and establish a consensus between relevant public and private sectors on the roles, responsibilities and actions needed to improve air quality.

The one-day event was attended by corporate partners, public sector leaders, academia and industry practitioners from across Pakistan.

While welcoming the participants, Director General WWF-Pakistan Hammad Naqi Khan said, “Lahore and Karachi are among the 10 most polluted cities in the world in terms of air quality, according to air quality monitor AirVisual. The ranking today puts Lahore at the top of the list, and urgent action needs to be taken to tackle this issue. Air pollution caused by traffic, industries, crop burning and burning of solid waste are major contributors of smog and the layer of smog is expected to thicken in the coming days. Urban air pollution in Pakistan is among very severe, significantly damaging human health, quality of life, economy and the environment.”

Following Khan’s address, Lauri Myllyvytra, Energy and Air Pollution Analyst, Green Peace, shared his research on the prevalent air quality of Pakistan’s leading cities. He also gave an insight into the actions and framework followed by the countries such as China, USA and some countries from the European Union, in tackling the issue of smog.

Director General Environmental Protection Department (EPD), Syeda Malika shed light on current smog policy and shared highlights from the Punjab Clean Air Action Plan. Malika said, “Smog is a form of severe air pollution when air quality changes drastically. The EPD records the air quality index every day and takes stern actions against violators. Industrial units, brick kilns or any unit found polluting the air is sealed unless it has air pollution control systems installed. Solid waste and crop stubble burning is banned and FIRs are registered against the violators.