Dense smog engulfed Lahore once again as October began. The air quality level shot to an alarming 153, according to the Air Quality Index. The rising levels of air pollution in the city have been declared “hazardous” for human health.
According to the Environment Protection Department, the primary contributors to air pollution include running vehicles, industrial emissions, and burning of crop stubble. “The department has collected data from all over the province,” said EPD Spokesperson Sajid.
“Industries violating environmental laws are being shut down and will not be allowed to reopen for as long as the smog persists.”
Lahore was ranked the second most polluted city in the world last October when its AQI ranking shot to 328. Schools in Lahore were closed for two days in November. Three students – Mishael Hayat, Leila Alam, and Laiba Siddiqui – were among the many people who had filed petitions against the Punjab government, accusing it of downplaying the severity of air pollution and putting the residents’ lives at risk.
Since then, the city of gardens has been regularly topping the AQI chart for its lowest air quality. Smog has become an annually recurring environmental threat in the provincial capital.
In September, the Punjab government decided to launch a four-year programme under Punjab’s Industries, Commerce and Investment Department worth Rs200 million.
The main objective of this programme was to fund the conversion of brick kilns to environmentally friendly zigzag technology, and fining industries that increase air pollution. But the reappearance of smog in the city shows the government has failed to curb it, despite its tall claims.
Smog is formed by a mixture of pollutants and water vapor in the atmosphere. It can cause health problems such as asthma, flu, coughing, allergies, bronchial infections and heart problems.
Prolonged exposure to environmental pollution also results in shortened life expectancy. These risks may be reduced by wearing masks, managing gaseous vehicular emissions, using eco-friendly products, and reusing and recycling.