Corona and Smog, Dual Problem in Coming Winter For Lahoris

Apart from repercussions on health, smog halts educational and business activities too

LAHORE: The menace of smog has kept the second most populated city of the country, Lahore, home to over 150 million people, gripped for the past few years.

Apart from repercussions on health, smog halts educational and business activities too.

However, this year, the locals of Lahore will have to deal with two problems together including novel coronavirus and smog.

Environmental pollution has grown into a serious problem around the world with Lahore clobbered by it.

What Health Experts Say? 

As per health experts, the smog can cause several respiratory and cardiovascular problems.

They said that continuous exposure to it also weakened the immune system which was thus dangerous when the novel coronavirus is resurging again.

Last year, Amnesty International declared that the provincial capital was at risk due to the presence of excessive toxic particles in the year.

Young children, the elderly, and pregnant women are vulnerable to toxic and poor air quality.

What is Air Quality Index (AQI)?

Air quality is a measure of how clean or polluted the air is. The Air Monitoring System (AMS) installed in Lahore shows changes in the amount of pollution in the air in degrees.











If AQI is measured between 0 and 50 degrees, the air quality is said to be fine while it is labeled as moderate if the figures lie between 51 and 100.

However, if it remains between 101 and 150 degrees, it is termed as unhealthy for sensitive groups.

When AQI exceeds 150 degrees and till 200, it means that the air is unhealthy for everyone.

If in rare cases, the level goes beyond 200 up to 500 degrees, a health alert is issued as the entire population is likely to get affected.

Lahore- Hardest Hit by Smog 

With the advent of the winter season in October, the smog has started to swell again in Lahore.

Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) and Punjab Environmental Department declared air quality in the city as health hazardous as AQI was recorded to be at above 200 levels during the month.

It is notable that the provincial capital has topped the list of most populated cities in the world.

Quaid-e-Azam Industrial area in Lahore remained the most polluted with AQI at 610 degrees followed by the Sundar Industrial area with AQI at 437 degrees.

The AQI was recently recorded to be 383 degrees in Garhi Shaho, 312 degrees on Airport Road, 244 degrees on Mall Road, 229 degrees in DHA, and 225 degrees on Davis Road.

How Health and Environmental Experts See it? 

The experts have suggested that there would be not a single day in Lahore until February next year without smog.

The AQI is also expected to remain at a dangerous level until January.

AQI in Lahore surged to 580 degrees during the same months last year.

The health experts said that smog weakened immunity in a person. As an offset, an individual should consume fruits, vegetables, and other foods that can boost it.Meanwhile, the use of facemask has become an essential part of clothing. However, to remain protected against smog, the eyes should be kept covered too.

While talking with News360, an eye-specialist, Dr Aisha Sadaf, said that thick fog could damage the eyes, therefore, suggested the use of spectacles while going out in the day.

Dr Sadaf also recommended using eye drops to clean eyes after exposure to polluted air.

Further, Dr Kamran Cheema said while talking with News360 that environmental pollution was causing different diseases and cited World Health Organization (WHO) which has declared environmental pollution as the biggest threat for upcoming generations.

Dr Cheema said that inhaling polluted air ended in the accumulation of toxic particles in the lungs that develops into different ailments.

He said that if the issue was not addressed and timely action not taken, the toxic air could leave effects on thousands of people.











Moreover, Syed Ajmal Rahim, an environmentalist, told News360 that polluted air not only affects humans but also plants.

He added that industries in Pakistan were still working on old technology, unlike the western world.

Rahim said that smog could even cause disability among the infants while it also depletes oxygen production capability in plants.

The environmentalist said that crops’ yield was also affected due to poor air quality.

How smog is formed?

Apart from industrial smoke emission, the burning of crops’ stubble in the north of India and Pakistan is a major reason behind the formation of thick fog. The farmers burn 30-90% of residue which contributes to the smog formation in the region.

When the wind blows towards South, the thick fog comes with it.

The experts believe that higher the quantity of smog in the air, the farther it would travel.

What the government is doing?

Last week, Punjab EPA Director General (DG) Dr Khurram chaired a meeting in which the participants mulled on installing a modern system for measuring air quality. The system would be installed at different locations of the city.

Besides, the EPA would also develop a mobile application with the assistance of the Punjab Information Technology (IT) Board. The mobile application will provide useful updated information to the citizens regarding AQI.

Government in Action













Under the current situation, the Punjab government launched action against smoke-emitting vehicles and brick kilns.












The cases were registered against 397 vehicles apart from some 2,441 vehicles that were impounded.

The fines imposed on smoke emitting vehicles and factories amount to Rs 10.19 million. The government has also sealed some 206 industries too.

PDMA Recommendations in light of the situation

Pakistan Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) has also sent some recommendations to the Punjab government to deal with worsening air quality in Punjab.











PDMA suggested closing schools if the AQI goes beyond 300 degrees. It has also sought Rs 500.4 million from the government for massive scale plantation in the province.

Meanwhile, the Punjab government has decided to hire services of a consultant along with setting up a control room in every district of the province. The focal persons on smog would also be appointed.

To mitigate the menace of thick fog, the government has decided to mobilize institutions for expediting action against smoke emitting vehicles and factories. 

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