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How to get through a smog-filled day in Pakistan

December 24, 2018
 

The ad for British company Respro that makes hip stylish masks for the sports environment.

If you are living in Punjab, you’re probably having a hazy kind of a day. Smog season has arrived and it is here to stay until the winter rain clears up the air. Till then, Punjabis have to breathe toxic air. Here are a few tips to keep you relatively safe.

Stay indoors if you can

Keep your outdoor ventures limited to work and other necessary trips only. Even avoid sitting in your garden or terrace. Keep all doors and windows shut and use a wet cloth for gaps. When you do have to go out, make sure you are fully covered.
An N-99 air mask, which can filter up to 99% particulate matter, would also come handy. Surgical masks, helmets and handkerchiefs are useless.

Keep body fluid levels up

Staying in may not be enough. Drinking plenty of fluids (water, juice and soup) is necessarily to wash down the dust collecting inside your throat and nasal passages. Avoid tea and coffee as they can dry you. They are diuretics that make you go to the bathroom a lot. You should also wash all exposed skin and eyes with clean water after every trip outside.

Keep the dust out

If possible, get an air quality monitor for your home and work. You can also connect it to the Pak-Air Quality Network for updates on air quality data in your city. Add potted plants to keep indoor air clean.
You should definitely not be smoking indoors. When the air in a room gets stale, open the windows and doors for an hour or two for ventilation. On days when the air quality is particularly bad, consider working from home.

An item any Pakistani home usually can’t do without is the beloved jharoo. Avoid it! Use a wet mop or vacuum that attracts dusts and gets rid of it instead of just scattering it into the air. It’s probably best to put off any construction or maintenance work for now as well.

Drive safe

If you’re stepping out, keep your masks on at all times and use fog lights, but don’t use high beams. During times of dense smog, keep your speed low. If you cannot see the road, do not stop midway. Gradually pull over to the side, away from traffic.

 

The campaign poster for #SaansLenayDo to pressure the Punjab government to install more air quality filters.

Reduce your carbon footprint

Carbon emission is the biggest contributor to smog right now. Whether it is through burning of fossil fuels in factories or use of millions of cars, carbon emission is damaging air quality irreparably.
As citizens we can cut back on all bonfires and BBQs to avoid burning coal or wood, avoid fireworks and garbage burning, reduce petrol use and avoid using cars for short distances. For Lahoris, Daewoo Express, LTC and Metro bus services are all excellent transport options.

Practice conservation at home. This means you need to conserve your electrical use at home to reduce the amount of fossil fuels being burned. Make it a habit to switch off lights and electronics when not in use and purchase energy-efficient appliances.

Another practice includes refueling your car in the evening when it is cooler. Avoid using high octane petrol completely if possible as it has the most poisonous emissions after diesel.

 
 
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