November 18, 2021 – The Environmental Protection Department (EPD) of Punjab issued a notification on November 16 asking the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to take action against those circulating unverified statistics regarding the air quality in Lahore on social media and the internet.
Muhammad Rizwan, EPD Minister Punjab, wrote a letter to FIA’s Director earlier this week stating that, “some unscrupulous elements with the malafide intention are trying to damage the image of Pakistan by reporting misleading / false reading of Air Quality Index (AQI).”
The minister wrote to the director that the misleading readings of the Air Quality Index (AQI) from unverified sources in Lahore on various forms of media are in complete contradiction to EPD’s figures.
The letter requested the FIA to carry out an investigation against the said issue and take serious action against individuals and companies that circulate misleading information on social media and the internet without the approval of the EPD. The minister suggested that the action must be taken against those people under the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA), also known as the cybercrime laws.
The air quality across the country has been seen to be getting worse with some areas in Lahore reporting AQI readings above 600 on the index which is considered hazardous to breathe in. The IQAir that records the air quality of cities around the world lists Lahore as the city with most unhealthy and pollutant air quality in the world, whereas Karachi stands at 8th in the list on November 18.
Mishaal is a Project Coordinator at Media Matters for Democracy. She is a Public Policy graduate with past experience as content strategist and research writer. Her main areas of interest are political science, world history, and public policy.