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Amnesty International issues ‘Urgent Action’ for smog-choked Lahore

Says air pollution is putting every person at risk

SAMAA | - Posted: Nov 22, 2019 | Last Updated: 2 years ago
Posted: Nov 22, 2019 | Last Updated: 2 years ago

Amnesty International has issued an Urgent Action for the people of Lahore to mobilise its global support base to campaign on behalf of the entire city’s population due to the hazardous smog engulfing it.

The Urgent Action raises concerns about the poor air quality posing a risk to the health of each of Lahore’s 10 million plus people.

“The government’s inadequate response to the smog in Lahore raises significant human rights concerns. The hazardous air is putting everyone’s right to health at risk,” said Rimmel Mohydin, South Asia campaigner at Amnesty International.

“The issue is so serious that we are calling on our members around the world to write to the Pakistani authorities to tell them to stop downplaying the crisis and take urgent action to protect people’s health and lives.”

For one in every two days this month, Lahore’s air quality has been classified as “hazardous” by air quality monitors installed by the United States Consulate in Lahore and the Pakistan Air Quality Initiative.

The government has shut schools down on at least three days so far in November.

Urgent Actions are a campaigning tool that Amnesty International has used for decades to mobilise support internationally for victims of human rights violations and for prisoners of conscience, including Asia Bibi, the Pakistani Christian woman falsely accused of blasphemy and sentenced to death for it.

Not a single day of healthy air this year

Lahore has not had a single day of healthy air this year, according to the Pakistan Air Quality Initiative, a citizen-led effort that crowdsources and collates data on air quality.

Also Read: Lahore teens take govt to court over hazardous air quality

The air quality in Lahore has deteriorated to “hazardous” levels this November. Systems in place advise people to avoid all outdoor activity when that happens.

Air becomes unhealthy when the Air Quality Index (AQI) level reaches 100. At 300 and above, it is considered “hazardous”.

The AQI in Lahore reached 580 at 11pm on November 7. Since the beginning of the month, at least seven days have seen air quality reach hazardous levels.

Severe health issues including asthma, lung damage, bronchial infections, heart problems and shortened life expectancy result from prolonged exposure to the deadly pollution.

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Lahore smog, Amnesty International, Urgent Action, Health hazard
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