BAHAWALPUR: Amnesty International on Friday issued “urgent action” for the people of Lahore in a bid to gather support to campaign on behalf of the population of “Pakistan’s second-largest city which is suffering from hazardous smog.”
This is the first time that the rights group has issued urgent action for the “entire population of a major city.”
“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,” said Rimmel Mohydin, South Asia Campaigner at Amnesty International.
“The issue is so serious that we are calling on our members around the world to write to the Pakistani authorities to tell them to stop downplaying the crisis and take urgent action to protect people’s health and lives,” she added.
Lahore air’s quality was recorded by Air Visual to be 385 on Friday morning, which is classified as unhealthy. Punjab government, for the third time this month ordered the closure of all schools due to dense smog in three districts including Lahore, Faisalabad, and Gujranwala on Friday.
Earlier, on Thursday the Lahore High Court (LHC) ordered the provincial government to take immediate measures to control environment pollution which was adding to higher smog levels.
Smog has also engulfed other parts of the province including Bahawalpur and surrounding areas, as air quality in the south Punjab region was reported to be severe.
According to the Air Quality Index, air quality in the region, ranking between 400 to 425 is unhealthy. Doctors at Bahawal Victoria Hospital said that patients, especially, children suffering from asthma and respiratory problems were being brought to hospital emergency and outdoor wards.
“Doctors and paramedics are providing medical treatment to patients suffering from diseases caused by thick smog,“ said, Dr Aamir Bukhari, a representative of BVH Bahawalpur.
Bahawalpur Deputy Commissioner Shozab Saeed said that the government had ordered closure of brick kilns in the district. “District management is taking measures to control activities which provide fuel to smog,” he said.