Lawsuit Against Government’s Failure: Supreme Court Orders To Control Air Pollution
Lawsuit Against Government’s Failure: Supreme Court Orders To Control Air Pollution: Case against the government of Pakistan was filed by Venu G. Advani, the Karachi lawyer against government’s failure to control air pollution in the city.
Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, head of a three-member high court panel, ruled that the government must provide details of what it is doing to curb air pollution across the country. He said he was shocked at how dirty the air had become, particularly in Pakistan’s cities.
The ruling has urged government authorities to action to try to reduce pollution levels, fearing they could face court orders or sanctions.
The court would ensure “provision of the constitutional right to a clean environment, for which clean air is key”. Vice president of the Pakistan Environmental Law Association, Ahmad Rafay Alam said that Pakistan’s Constitution says a clean environment is a fundamental right of all citizens, under provisions that guarantee a “right to life” and “right to dignity”.
“There is no hope without the Supreme Court’s intervention to awaken government officials from their deep slumber” on air quality, lawyer stated.
As per reports, nearly 22% of annual deaths in Pakistan or more than 310,000 each year are caused by pollution, the majority of them due to air pollution.
Since the court ruling, officials at the Pakistan Environmental Protection agency (EPA) have said they are moving rapidly to comply. Pakistan’s environmental protection agency is installing air quality monitors and warning factories to add pollution filters after a panel of the country’s top judges ordered the government to detail its efforts to control worsening air pollution.
Nearly 50 brick kilns have been issued notices and more than 130 buses and other vehicles fined over the last two months.
Seven fixed and three mobile ambient air quality monitoring stations have been set up in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar and Quetta, all cities that have suffered particular problems with air pollution.
A 2016 study by the World Health Organization (WHO) ranked Rawalpindi, located near the capital Islamabad, as the second most polluted city of the country after the northwest city of Peshawar. Over 90% of Rawalpindi’s population of over 2 million inhales contaminated air regularly, exposing them to a higher risk of health problems such as cardiovascular disease and lung cancer with children particularly vulnerable.
So far no air quality monitors are being installed in Rawalpindi, however, because of a lack of funds, officials said.
Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad stand as 3rd , 4th and 5th most polluted cities in the country in terms of air quality.
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