Tag Archives: pollution

Lahoris breathing poisonous air

A disturbing report from Daily Times – Raza Rumi

* Pollution levels in city’s air have exceeded all internationally declared parametres
* Environment Protection Department spokesperson says department considering all options to control pollution in provincial capital, several awareness programmes being pursued

By Afnan Khan

LAHORE: Residents of the provincial capital are breathing poisonous air due to the government’s failure in controlling massive industrialisation in residential areas and containing the growth in the number of vehicles on the road, which has increased significantly with the passage of time, Daily Times has learnt. Continue reading

Lahore now the most polluted city in Pakistan?

Road PollutionSo much for “development”, so much for the overpasses, the underpasses, the Foodstreets, Jashn-e-Baharan, the Lahore Road, Rehabilitation Project, all of the PHA’s many “efforts”, beautification and so on.  So much for it.  Lahore is now the most polluted city in Pakistan.  Surely someone should accept the fact that the medicine is killing the patient.

The newspaper article below is also an indictment of the thoughtless commercialization policies that have fuelled commercial and industrial activity within the city and, often, even in quiet residential areas.  It’s an indictment of how inequitable our cities are becoming; and how anti-public space and anti-people they have become.  Arif Hasan has called Karachi an “unethically planned city.” Given the short-sighted pursuit we give to the notion of a “World Class City”, I think Lahore is fast earning the same moniker.

Industrialisation, mounting pollution threaten Lahore

Thursday, September 24, 2009
By Ali Raza (The News http://tiny.cc/hQxLT)

LAHORE: Rapidly increasing industrialization and commercialisation has turned the provincial metropolis — once known as the City of Gardens — into one of the most polluted cities in the country.

Even residential localities are not safe from increasing trends of commercialization and industrialization because many industrial zones, which were established some years ago outside the city, are now situated right in middle of the City.

Light and heavy industrial units have been established in various city localities i.e. Misri Shah, Baghbanpura, Mughalpura, Daroghewala, Bhagat Pura, Chah Miran, Shadbagh and other localities along the Bund Road and GT Road. These industries include steel foundries, steel re-rolling mills, kilns, steel furnaces, scrap yards, plastic recycling industry, marble grinding, furniture making and several other kinds of cottage industries. All of these industries are spreading different types of pollutions especially air, noise, vibration and heat.
Continue reading

The destruction of Lahore’s environment is a trend that needs to be reversed, says Raza Rumi

Moaning about Lahore’s most elitist enclave, GOR-I, is a contentious undertaking. On the one hand, it was, until recently, the best of what the British left us – lovingly p9aadorned with diverse species of trees, home to glorious specimens of ecologically-friendly architecture and an old-world-charm unparalleled for its simplicity and elegance. On the other hand, it was also a symbol of the extractive, Punjab-centric colonial state of the nineteenth century, lorded over by the agents of the Indian civil service.

But when one has lived in those sublime environs, not as the scion of a landed, aristocratic clan but rather as a member of a middle-class, professional family, what is one to do?GOR-I was a lonely plant of sorts amid the sprawl of Lahore, with trees, birds and orchards one would not have expected to find in an Asian mega-city. Continue reading

Islamabad choking on exhausts

ISLAMABAD: Vehicular exhausts, containing a range of toxic substances, are suffocating Islamabad, according to health experts and environmentalists.

What Islooites ought to be concerned about is that once these substances, suspended in the air, are breathed in by humans the bloodstream transports the toxins to the body’s major organs. Continue reading

Lahore tops list of most polluted cities

ISLAMABAD – Lahore has topped the list of most polluted cities with highest air pollution level of 121.85 micrograms per cubic meter that is three times higher than the safe standards, followed by Peshawar and the Federal Capital.

The facts were revealed in statistics gathered by the Pakistan Environment Agency (Pak-EPA) under its Air Monitoring System. Continue reading

Lahore tops list of most polluted cities

ISLAMABAD – Lahore has topped the list of most polluted cities with highest air pollution level of 121.85 micrograms per cubic meter that is three times higher than the safe standards, followed by Peshawar and the Federal Capital.
The facts were revealed in statistics gathered by the Pakistan Environment Agency (Pak-EPA) under its Air Monitoring System. Continue reading

Task force formed to curb pollution

We hope that this is not just another government body that will talk a lot and do nothing…


Here is a report by Abdul Manan

LAHORE: The Punjab government has formed a task force to control environmental pollution, deforestation, dumping and disposal of solid waste and sewage, the Environment Protection Department officials told Daily Times on Saturday.

They said the task force would also monitor mismanagement of hospital waste and polythene bags. The Services and General Administration Department has notified that Dr Awais Farooqi will be chairman of the force. They said the task force would educate the people about the importance of environment.

They said the task force would also co-ordinate with the Solid Waste Department (SWM) and the Water and Sanitation Agency (WASA) to monitor the dumping of solid waste.

Pollution damaging beauty of Fort wall

Pollution damaging beauty of Fort wall – Daily Times 9 September

* Mughal Emperor Jahangir initiated the wall construction and it was completed during reign of Shah Jahan in 1631-32 AD
* Wall painting embellished with panels of tile mosaics and fresco paintings
* Mosaic depicts variety of fashions worn by people of Mughal era

By Abdul Manan

LAHORE: Recent permission for parking outside the Punjab Archaeology Department (PAD), adjacent to the Lahore Fort gate near the Samadhi Maharanjit Singh, has damaged one of the Fort’s painted walls due to the emission of smoke from the parked vehicles, sources told Daily Times on Monday.

According to government statistics, the parking stand, adjacent to the Shershah Wali plot, was once a beautiful garden under the Parking and Housing Authority.

The wall’s construction was initiated by Mughal Emperor Jahangir and completed during the reign of Shah Jahan in 1631-32 AD. It represents a series of tiled montage panels, which historically are amongst the world’s most spectacular sites. It is a remarkable amalgamation of unique designs. It is embellished with panels of tile mosaics and fresco paintings and is 450 metres in length and 17 metres high

The decorations are between two cornices, which are divided into a double row of differently-sized arched recesses. The fresco paintings are carried out in the arched recesses, while the spandrels are tastefully decorated with tile mosaics, displaying men, fairies, elephants, lions, dragons, scenes of animal fights, men playing polo, and numerous other games. The human figures on the wall give evidence of the fashion custom of that time, from the clothing worn by royalty to those of servants and gladiators.

Sources said that even though the parking stand was constructed for visitors and employees of the Fort, the coaches of the Badami Bagh bus stand are also utilising the space. They said that the smoke emitted from the vehicle engines were directly damaging the wall and ruining its beauty.

PAD Director Muhammad Shahbaz, when questioned about the environmental pollution, defended the parking stand by saying it was a necessary requirement for the visitors of the Lahore Fort.

He urged the removal of the GT Road to save historical monuments, adding that even though the GT Road and the parking stand are at a considerable distance, the stand should not be abolished.

NGO Eco Watch Trust President Imran Haider, who five years ago filed a case in the Environmental Tribunal (ET) about environmental hazards to monuments, said that the ET had passed a judgment regarding the parking stands near monuments to be prohibited.

He said that his appeal was to preserve the monuments in general, claiming the parking stand to be the worst form of threat to the wall, adding that it should be restored back to being a mini-garden.

An Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) spokesman told Daily Times that the EPA would ask the Environment Department of the City District Government Lahore (CDGL) to submit a report about the parking stand. He said that he would ask the CDGL to take action against the PAD for not saving the monuments from the hazardous effect of the vehicles.

He said that the EPA, seven years ago, had suggested the provincial government to remove the Badami Bagh Bus stand in order to protect the Lahore Fort from the smoke and dust of the buses. He said removal of the bus stand would help protect the Fort.

Noise levels driving Lahoris crazy

* Environmentalist says noise pollution one of primary causes of hearing loss and cardiac disorders

By Abdul Manan (Daily Times)

LAHORE: Noise pollution in the city is on the rise with most residents complaining that the noise is becoming a public nuisance.

Dr Khursheed Ahmad, Department of Environmental Engineering head at the National College of Business Administration and Economics said: “Noise pollution is one of the main causes of hearing loss, cardiac disorders, epileptic seizures, emotional problems and restlessness.”

He said cars and other vehicles were a main cause of the noise. He said the total number of registered vehicles in the city had increased from 45,000 (1976) to 1.5 million in 2008. “Main residential areas such as the Defence Housing Authority, Johar Town, Township, Gulberg, Askari Flats, Faisal Town, and WAPDA Town have noise levels that exceed the National Environmental Quality Standards (NEQSs),” he said.

On August 29, 1993, he said, the Environment and Urban Affairs Division, through a notification, had enforced NEQSs at 85 decibels (dB). He said a recent survey had revealed that residential areas have NEQS levels higher than the permissible levels. He said, “People exposed to 85 decibels for 50 years or more can suffer a permanent hearing loss.” Continue reading

Facing urban congestion

By Ahmad Rafay Alam

Traffic congestion is a universal constant. What isn’t, on the other hand, is the many ways traffic congestion and transport problems are perceived and tackled. Some cities have managed to break free of their dependence of the automobile. Many more haven’t, and have lost themselves to Congestion. The approach each city takes to the problem of urban congestion and transport is an insight into their priorities and a gauge of how successful their efforts will be.

The motor vehicles that cause congestion are major polluters of urban air. For example, on June 7 the Environment Protection Agency of Punjab issued a report on air-quality monitoring in Lahore. According to the EPA, as of June 2008, Lahore’s air is the most polluted it has ever been. “Since records began.”

The EPA has compiled a list of factors that contribute to the increase in pollution. These include “traffic jams at crossings, and high density of traffic on the road.” In 2005, the District Officer (Environment) of Lahore had estimated that there were 1.5 million registered motor vehicles in Lahore. According to statistics recently released by the Excise and Taxation Department, 900,000 new vehicles were registered in Lahore between 2002 and 2007. Continue reading

Fresh air far away – The drain that pollutes South Lahore

By Farooq Khattak

Lahorites love to inhale a fresh whiff of air when they wake up in the morning or for that matter, at anytime of the day. Many of the lively-hearted Lahorites have planted flowering plants and shrubs by their houses or have placed earthen pots containing such plants by their bedrooms or in the corridors of their houses, for aesthetics and a whiff of fragrant air every now and then.

However, millions of residents of south Lahore have been denied this pleasure for the last decade or so. Its not that the people residing in this part of Lahore have less aesthetic sense or don’t care for a fresh breath of air in the mornings; they have been compelled to smell fetid air 24 hours a day seven days a week.

The reason is a storm water channel called Sattu Katla. The course of this rainwater drain runs through almost the entire south Lahore. It has been there since before Independence. It emanates somewhere close by Wahga border and passes close to Makkah Colony, the now abandoned Walton aerodrome, Askari Flats and some parts of cantonment area, R and S Blocks Model Town Extension, Township, Wapda Town and other localities beyond it and empties in River Ravi. Continue reading

Lahore goes green – Roshni’s German-style bread is growing popular

Rina Saeed Khan writing for the Friday Times, Lahore

Roshni’s German-style bread is growing in popularity in Lahore

As the demand for pesticide-free fruits and vegetables has spiked in Pakistan over the last few years, organic farmers have seen a boom in interest. In organic farming, vegetables and fruit (and wheat, rice etc.) are grown without the use of synthetic chemicals. Organic farmers rely instead on crop rotation, integrated pest management, crop residues and animal manure to maintain soil productivity and to control pests and weeds. The stated aim of organic farming is to “sustain and enhance the health of ecosystems and organisms from the smallest in the soil to human beings.”

Organic farming relies on the earth’s natural resources to grow and process food. It is not a new concept – before the use of agro-chemicals became popular, this is how our forefathers grew their own food!

 With this humble beginning we want to highlight the idea of organic farming and environment friendly lifestyle and make organic products available to you,” said the notice inside the newly opened Roshni Organic Shop opposite Shapes Gym in Lahore’s Gulberg area. For years now, Lahoris have been feasting on Roshni bread, the delicious and healthy wholegrain bread, made by the Roshni Organic Bakery. The various kinds of Roshni bread (linseed, rye flake, plain, toast) are sold in different outlets throughout Lahore and are made from natural ingredients grown by organic farmers. The small and simply decorated Roshni shop now offers these breads along with other bakery items like quiches, cupcakes and pastries. The shop also offers other organic food items like fresh vegetables, dry fruit, herbal teas, natural oils, sugar, rice and cereals. It is a treat for all those who are concerned about their health and the environment. Continue reading

Cottage industries must be registered

Daily Times Report

LAHORE: The city government has started cracking down on large factories in residential areas, believing them to be a source of nuisance to residents.

District Officer (Environment) Tariq Zaman told Daily Times on Friday that there were almost 5,000 cottage industries in residential areas. He said that the city government would advertise in newspapers on Saturday (today) to tell the owners of these factories to get themselves listed with the government within 15 days. “The objective is not to discourage cottage industry, but to shift the larger ones away from residential areas,” he added. He also said that once listed, the government would check whether the factories came under cottage industry or not.

Mercury rising:Factories in Lahore emitting tonnes of mercury in air daily

By Abdul Manan

LAHORE: Factories in the city are pumping hundreds of kilogrammes of mercury in the city’s air and water while the Environment Protection Department (EPD) has so far done nothing to curb this lethal pollution.

Talking to Daily Times, an EPD official said, “Mercury pollution is a very serious matter and should be dealt with on war footing.” He said that about six months ago, the federal agency for environment launched a project in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to prepare an inventory of mercury pollution. He said the federal agency tasked the EPD to do the work in Lahore, “but the EPD has done nothing and the expensive laboratory equipment [used to measure mercury in the air and water] is kept locked in the EPD store.”

He said the federal government had given the EPD the task to hold awareness seminars and programmes to sensitise factory owners on the increasing mercury levels in the city’s environment. But no such programme had been held, he added. Continue reading

Lahore’s ‘quietest’ areas exceed WHO noise limits

* Health expert says noise pollution can trigger both physiological and psychological problems

Abdul Manan writing in Daily Times

LAHORE: Though the affluent areas of Lahore are quieter than rest of the city, the noise level in these areas is still far higher than the standards set by the World Health Organisation (WHO), an Environment Protection Department (EPD) official told Daily Times on Monday.

Noise intensity is measured in decibels (dB) to illustrate different noise levels. The WHO standard for residential areas is 45dB, for commerical areas 55 dB, and for industrial areas 65 dB. People can normally bear noise up to 45 dB, but from 120 dB the ear begins to experience pain, and this level of noise can also impair hearing if experienced over a long period.

The EPD official said the noise level was recorded at an average of 75 dB in Defence Housing Authority (DHA), Gulberg and Model Town. He said the average noise level in the industrial areas was recorded as above 120 dB. “Noise pollution could be dramatically decreased by banning rickshaws,” he said.

He said noise should be considered a nuisance rather than an environmental problem, but that the EPD had not yet established any standards of noise pollution. “The EPD should propose amendments in the Pakistan Environment Protection Act 1997 in this regard,” he said, and added that major sources of noise were generators, vehicles, poor urban planning, factory machinery, construction work, aircraft, and railways.

Noise injures both physically and mentally: Mayo Hospital’s Dr Khalil said unwanted sound was defined as noise pollution. He said noise affects a person’s level of happiness and ability to perform activities. “Noise pollution can cause annoyance, aggression, and hypertension, and can impair hearing. Excessive exposure to loud noises can even cause tinnitus, a disorder in which a person hears sound in the absence of corresponding external sound,” he said. Continue reading