Pakistani cities have always been on the list of the most polluted cities, sometimes even topping the list. The country’s larger cities now almost never have blue skies. The nation’s first-ever National Clean Air Policy (NCAP) to combat the rising threat of air pollution has been approved by the government, which has finally made the decision to address this issue immediately. The data presented at the meeting demonstrated how crucial it is to have a well-thought-out strategy for making Pakistan healthier. At least 235,000 people died prematurely as a result of air pollution in 2019. By and large, this natural issue has diminished the normal future by something like 2.7 percent.
Schools in Punjab are forced to close every year due to the persistent smog, which threatens the lives of students. It is also true that prolonged exposure to air pollution increases the likelihood of children developing serious health issues. Not only does their cognitive development suffer, but they also run the risk of developing lung diseases that last a lifetime.
The plan, which will be reviewed every five years and updated if necessary, will be developed in close collaboration with the Ministry of Climate Change. This is all admirable. In any case, experts will currently have to intently screen how well the arrangement is executed and on the off chance that specialists prevail with regards to making a move against individuals liable for air contamination. In the Kemari area of Karachi, at least 16 children and three adults were reported to have died from toxic gas inhalation just recently.
Although the Environmental Protection Agency ruled out the possibility of inhaling toxic gases, many experts believe that the majority of air pollution comes from fumes from unregulated factories in residential areas. At the moment, five sectors have been identified by authorities as being responsible for air pollution: agriculture, transport, industry, residential, and waste management. Some interventions in these areas are thought to have the potential to significantly reduce pollution.
It is essential to understand that the government can only make improvements if it involves individuals in its endeavor. In order to keep an eye on industries and other sectors that contribute to pollution, strict regulations, particularly those pertaining to industries, should be enforced. In Punjab, stubble burning frequently results in hazardous levels of air pollution.
Farmers ought to be educated through awareness campaigns, and an alternative ought to be made available to rapidly reduce activities that harm the environment. It is hoped that this national policy will contribute to the development of a Pakistan that is cleaner, healthier, and where citizens will have access to clean, polluted air. All plans must be carried out strictly, and the policy should not be filed away to rot like other well-intentioned initiatives in the country do. Additionally, it is necessary to guarantee that the policy is not disrupted.
A policy has sometimes been abandoned as soon as a new government takes office. Now is the time for all stakeholders to get together and focus on a problem that could soon turn into an emergency. The right to breathe safe, clean air is the minimum that Pakistanis have.