In a proactive effort to combat smog and air pollution, the Punjab Environment Protection Department (EPD) has taken stringent measures against industrial units found violating the environmental laws. During the period from August 1 to September 14, 2023, the EPD sealed 336 such units and imposed fines totaling Rs. 52.2 million, with the aim of curbing pollution ahead of the smog season. According to EPD Director Naseemur Rehman Shah, a recent crackdown has resulted in the closure of 347 industrial units and substantial fines imposed on them, alongside the registration of FIRs [first information reports] for environmental violations during the ongoing pre-smog preparations campaign. The EPD teams have been conducting raids on factories and industrial facilities in the city, particularly those involved in improper disposal of expired batteries in industrial units and their surrounding areas. Shah highlighted the impending threat of heavy smog and air pollution as winter approaches, especially in Punjab and Lahore. In response, the EPD has intensified its efforts around the clock to address this concern. Various teams have been formed to inspect emission control systems in industrial units. Furthermore, Shah emphasised the detrimental consequences of burning trash, which not only results in the release of polluted ash and smoke but also the potential release of hexachlorobenzene (HCB) into the environment. HCB is a highly persistent toxin that degrades slowly in the air, allowing it to travel long distances in the atmosphere. To deter violations, Shah underscored the severe penalties for garbage burning, including immediate unit or kiln closures, imprisonment, fines of up to Rs. 100,000, and legal proceedings against industrial unit or kiln owners. He emphasised that brick manufacturing units must strictly adhere to the eco-friendly zigzag technology. Environmental expert Mahmood Khalid Qamar emphasised the grave environmental threat posed by the combustion of prohibited materials, such as trash, plastic, and treated wood, in industrial units. Such activities release toxic chemicals into the atmosphere, leading to air pollution that adversely affects human health, animal life, soil, surface water, and plants. Qamar stressed that open burning, in general, presents significant risks to both the environment and public health. In a recent statement to the media, Director General EPD Mazhar Zaheer Abbas Malik issued a stern warning to factory owners, cautioning against the use of plastic and shoes as fuel sources for combustion. He reaffirmed the commitment to taking strict actions against those who fail to comply with regulations. Furthermore, Malik urged farmers to refrain from burning rice crop residues, as this practice contributes to pollution in soil, groundwater, lakes, rivers, and streams and carries the risk of wildfires. He stressed the importance of burning only approved materials and adhering to state regulations to mitigate these harmful effects effectively.