Air even in courtroom is polluted, reading tells
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By Our Staff Reporter | 4/6/2018 12:00:00 AM
ISLAMABAD: Air quality even inside the lofty Courtroom No. 1 of the Supreme Court leaves much to be desired. A reading taken inside the courtroom on Thursday during the hearing of a pollution-related case showed a scale of 39 particulate matter (PM) when the international standard of clean air is 10PM.

Particulate matter is the sum of all solid and liquid particles suspended in the air many of which are hazardous like dust, pollen, soot, smoke and liquid droplets.

The reading was taken by Venu G. Advani, a concerned citizen from Karachi, on the request of Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar when he inquired whether the former had brought the pocket-sized apparatus to gauge air quality.

Mr Advani, who had moved an application to become a party in the case related to environmental pollution in Karachi due to industrial activities, told the court that the apparatus had been impounded by the security outside. The apparatus was brought inside the courtroom on the instruction of the court and Mr Advani told the court af ter taking the reading that though inside the courtroom the reading showed 30PM, outside it was much higher.

He said even a minuscule increaseinthepollutionindexled to 10-year decrease in the life expectancy of individuals who inhaled polluted air.

`What are we doing to our children who are not breathing clean air,` Mr Advani lamented.

The chief justice regretted that Pakistan had become one of the most polluted countries in Asia and wondered whether the government was doing something to address the alarming situation.

One of the reasons of rising air pollution was the fast depleting forest cover, said Justice Ijaz-ulAhsan.

Children were most susceptible to diseases like asthma, Mr Advani said adding that when children went to schools they were exposed to smoke emitting from cars.

He highlighted that Germany had banned diesel cars and said that the move forward was to encourage electric buses and cars.

Earlier in his application, Mr Advani had regretted that nonimplementation of the World Bank guidelines by the federal and the provincial governments over the last five years had exacerbated the situation.

Since the environmental protection agencies had an integral role to play in every province, the budgets of the agencies needed to be enhanced and the powers of their functionaries should be broadened, he said.

He stressed the need for identification of major pollutants being released from the industries, saying PM25 was detrimental to the health of pregnant women and children.

To ameliorate the situation, he proposed, air purifiers be implanted in schools and the cars which caused pollution should not be allowed to crowd around schools.

He said the mechanical and vehicular overhaul was also necessary.

When Mr Advani mentioned coal-related pollution hanging over Karachi, the chief justice asked him to move an application so that the matter could be taken in Karachi.