Islamabad: India and Pakistan need to get together to find a sustainable solution to smog, the Pakistani Punjab Minister of Environment Zakia Shah Nawaz Khan has said.
The only proper forum to do this is the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc), Geo News quoted Khan as saying on Thursday.
“There are no two ways about it. Smog is not just an India or Pakistan issue, it is a regional issue. Both countries need to collaborate in order to find a sustainable solution. The only proper forum to do that is the Saarc,” Khan wrote in an opinion piece.
“The nature of this emergency is such that let’s say Pakistan effectively tackles smog and India is still struggling, we will, regardless of our efforts, still be affected by air pollution. Hence, it has to be a joint effort,” she said.
Schools have been shut in parts of north India after pollution hit hazardous levels. The skyline in parts of Pakistan too has been shrouded in toxic smog for over a week. In both countries, experts have warned of dangers to health.
“Smog is pollution… and it is harmful to us… We have to clean our air… Punjab is already implementing some urgent, short-term measures,” Khan said.
“Now, is the time for us to say, enough is enough. The developed world did this to us. We are a developing country. We did not pollute the planet’s air. There is no turning back at this point. We have to, absolutely have to, find a way to save our future generations.
“As for India, the federal government can initiate contact across the border. The Punjab government cannot on its own. Parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and upper Sindh are also enveloped in smog… It is, and should be, on the state’s agenda,” she said.