Pak research body undertakes study to prove smog blame on India

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Islamabad, Jan 8 (UNI) The Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (Suparco) is conducting a detailed investigation to substantiate its earlier claim that excessive burning of coal by India's thermal power plants was causing smog in Punjab province.

A three-year study had been launched to further investigate the sources of pollutants causing smog in Punjab and their impact on economy and health, Suparco's Director-General Air Commodore (retd) Arshad Siraj was quoted by The Dawn as saying.

Suparco project documents show that the previous study had recommended a more extensive investigation of the chemistry and transport processes of the pollutants causing the fog, which was necessary to delineate emission sources and develop control strategies.

Widespread smog is witnessed mostly in Punjab during winter season and the lack of rain worsens the situation as mist holds pollutants in suspension in lower strata of atmosphere.

The incidence of smog, which is a cocktail of toxic gases and particulates in northern and central Punjab in winter, has not only raised health concerns but also affecting agriculture and local climate.

An earlier study by Suparco had revealed that fog in Pakistan was being caused by excessive fossil fuel combustion (mainly coal) in India's north-eastern region.

Suparco officials said once the findings confirmed the role of India's thermal plants in causing smog in Punjab, the issue was likely to be taken up formally by the Pakistan government with India.

When contacted by Dawn to comment on the issue, Minister of State for Environment Malik Amin Aslam said once proven, the government would definitely take up the matter with India and ask it to cut emissions.

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