islamabad-The Higher Education Commission (HEC) will fund seven research projects in order to find solutions to minimize the duration and intensity of smog and to address health issues caused by it in Punjab.

The statement issued said that under the program entitled, “Problem Based Applied Interdisciplinary Research Program, HEC and the Punjab Environment Protection Department jointly invited research proposals from universities of the country.

The program aims to investigate the causes of smog, analyse its impact and devise mitigation strategies to reduce air pollution and winter smog. Against this call, 39 research proposals were received, whereas 10 proposals were shortlisted.

Out of them, seven research proposals have been recommended by experts for funding for a period of two years.

Research findings of these research projects will help resolve the health-related issues caused by smog and will help minimize the duration and intensity of smog.

Smog causes major health risks including asthma, lung tissue damage, bronchial infections, various forms of allergies and heart problems. This situation forces masses to wear masks and glasses to avoid the effects of smog.

Separately National conference on Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) during its two-day working sessions adopted a package of recommendations for improving the lot of teenagers.

The package was unfolded at its concluding session held at Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU). It carried a road-map to bring the children in the mainstream of the national development.

 The AIOU’s Vice Chancellor Prof. Dr. Shahid Siddiqui who presided over the closing session announced that they will launch a country-wide campaign to create awareness about the living-conditions of the youngsters.  Conferences and seminars will be arranged to promote community’s involvement for achieving the task.

 Joint Educational Adviser, Ministry of Education and Professional Training Prof. Muhammad Rafiq Tahir presented the recommendations that mainly focused on the formulation of a national policy on ECCE. It was emphasized that the policy should have legal backing of the Parliament.   

 It was the second conference on ECCE, jointly arranged by the Ministry of Education, AIOU, Rupani Foundation and other stake-holders including UNICEF, Plan international, UNESCO and Open Society Foundations. Chairman Rupani Foundation Nasruddin Rupani assured his support implementing the proposed road-map.