Federal Cabinet approves Hajj 2023, Clean Air policies

ISLAMABAD (APP) - The Federal Cabinet on Thursday approved the Hajj Policy 2023 and the National Clean Air Policy.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, chairing the cabinet meeting, said the authorities should prepare a comprehensive and effective strategy as soon as possible in cooperation with the officials of Saudi Arabia to provide the best possible travel and lodging facilities to pilgrims during the Hajj.

He appreciated the Ministry of Climate Change for formulating the Clean Air Policy, and directed that necessary steps should be taken for its effective implementation.

Meanwhile, Federal Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman said that the federal cabinet had approved the much needed ‘National Clean Air Policy’, proposed by the Climate Change Ministry.

The minister, in a series of tweets, thanked all the cabinet members for unanimously approving the policy.

Sherry Rehman said: “This policy was the need of the hour which has been formulated in consultation and partnership with all stakeholders. It aims to reduce air pollution in Pakistan, improve air quality, reduce annual deaths, improve citizens’ health, increase economic activity and ensure food security.”

She said that Pakistan was the third most polluted country in the world in terms of air pollution in 2021, while Lahore and Karachi were the most polluted cities in Air Quality Index 2022-23. “Air pollution has become a serious environmental and health problem. In 2019, 235,000 people died due to air pollution in Pakistan.”

The minister noted that air pollution had shortened the average life expectancy in Pakistan by 2.7 years. According to the World Bank, she said, air pollution in 2013 caused an economic loss of $47.8 billion in Pakistan, which was 5.88% of the GDP (gross domestic product).

“We needed a comprehensive policy to reduce these losses. All losses can be mitigated by the technical and administrative measures of this policy,” she said.

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