By Maemuna Sadaf
Lahore, capital territory of Punjab province was covered by smog for a long period recently. According to world report, Lahore is declared as second most hazardous for health. Smog in Lahore crossed all the international bench marks of being most dangerous pollutant across the globe. It remained between 450 ug/m3 (micrograms per cubic meter) and 500 ug/m3 against notified standard of 35 ug/m3. In Lahore, 11 million people population, grey sky’s color, the toxicity in air increased 30 times more than the limit safe for health.
Before discussing the recent environmental situation, one should understand the term smog. Smog is type of air pollutant which is caused by smoke and fog. Smog is combination of smoke, gasses and chemicals especially in cities. This term is firstly used in 1990s. Smog makes the atmosphere difficult to breath and harmful for health.
It also creates hazards in transportation either by road or by air as the visibility decreases. Smog has been created specially in cold weather when atmospheric temperature reduces, condenses the chemicals already present in air. Diseases, mainly respiratory and skin diseases increase due to smog. Smog is not only hazardous for human beings, animals and also for plants.
According to W.H.O (World Health Organization) the people living in polluted areas have higher risks of stroke, heart disease and lung cancer, chronic and acute respiratory diseases. Air pollution is a major cause of diseases and death in the country especially in Lahore. According to the reports of W.H.O, almost 60,000 Pakistanis have been died from air pollution. When air quality increases, the risk of diseases caused by air pollution reduces whereas workers productivity and life expectancy grow.
In Lahore a massive increase in population has been noticed recently. The increase in population is also because of migrants from rural areas. Because, Lahore is cultural and educational hub, people from all over the country come to this city for the sake of education and jobs. Urbanization, industrial revolution, amplified population and increased traffic pressure has raised air pollution along with other problems.
Beside Lahore’s own reasons of air pollution, the second reason of this smog is India’s act of burning crop remains. Higher emission has bent enormous smoke in air. Lahore being nearest city is badly affected by this smoke. Crop burning, higher emission and cold weather blanket mainly Lahore and other areas of Punjab Province with acrid smog.
Unfortunately, Pakistan has not made or implemented any regulations for this environmental pollution. Pakistan can raise the issue of India’s crop burning to international enforcing agencies. Till now, Pakistan has not taken any action against the pollution created by India on bilateral level or international level.
Writing more, in different countries like U.S.A and China setup dozens of monitoring stations in the cities but in Pakistan no such action has been taken yet. In Pakistan, environmental sector is neglected by all the governments either Democracy or Marshall Law. Due to this negligence, the environmental pollution worsens.
Concluding more, government Intervention to improve health situations is mandatory now. Government, health institutions along with private sector should take proper actions to control environmental pollution. Everyone can take part in reduction of smog by driving less, walking more or by using public transportation. People should avoid products that release high level volatile organic compound in atmosphere. People can save themselves by using face masks.
Story first published: 22nd November 2017