Pakistan’s second largest city Lahore has once again topped the daily ranking of the most polluted cities in the world, leaving authorities scrambling to fight the environmental crisis.
The air quality of the eastern city was recorded as 296, making it the most polluted city in the world on Friday, according to IQAir, a global environmental think-tank.
Lahore, capital of Pakistan’s Punjab province and home to more than 11 million people, repeatedly replaced New Delhi as the world’s most polluted city in November.
In recent days, a thick blanket of white smog has engulfed the cities in the province.
“We have sealed over 500 industrial units and imposed heavy fines on smoke emitting vehicles and brick kilns,” said Amir Farooq, the official in charge of fighting pollution in Punjab.
Farooq said his department was working on a long-term action plan to curb pollution.
“Air pollution in Lahore is nothing but a failure of the government,” environmental lawyer Ahmad Rafay Alam said.
Alam said the city was producing the same amount of pollution every single day throughout the year and government agencies’ action in the winter season was nothing but a “panic response”.
Pakistani authorities blame industrial emissions, smoke from brick kilns and vehicles, the burning of crop residue and general waste for being behind air pollution and smog in Lahore.
Pakistan is responsible for less than one percent of global carbon emissions but is among the top 10 most climate-vulnerable nations.
In 2019, the country launched a four-year programme to plant 10 billion trees by 2023. The project has crossed the one-billion mark.