About Arooj Kamran

Media and Communication Officer Indus Consortium

Blanket of Smog in Lahore

Nowadays, smog is considered as “fifth season” of Pakistan. Once again its the time of the year when Lahore gets covered with irritating smog. Smog depicts a haze of thick layer of smog covering the sky, blocking out the sun, obstructing the view and making everything vague.

One can find hinderance while driving or walking on the road and we hear reports of citizens complaining about the ailments from this sudden rise in the concentration of pollutants in the air. Residents of Punjab University have been facing problems with the weather for the past fortnight, dense and poisonous smog has created health problems and limiting their mobility.

Numerous road accidents took place due to smog in the last couple of days and extreme precaution is being recommended while traveling in the current weather.

But the question arises what is causing this foul smog to emerge at this time of the year? Because of so many grounds and open areas in Punjab University, it is so dense here.Students, bus drivers, and teachers experienced a sudden elevated rise in air pollutants which is a combination of urban air pollution, calm wind in the winter months and penetration of polluted air from India causing visibly dense smog.

An ever-increasing rise in industrial development in Lahore combine with unrestricted deforestation and vehicular emissions are commonly blamed for the being the real culprits besides crop fires and coal plant emissions burning in India.

Environmental Issue of Lahore

One day, on the way to my department, I saw some fade and languid flowers on a rose plant. which were not provided a clean environment to blossom; those which were blossomed their petals were withered. Taking some time to mull over our inhuman behavior towards nature. In a time of darkness and greed, these flowers are depending upon us for their breed but this poor and selfish species are known as the “Human Beings, superior of all creations” have destroyed the existence of natural beauty.Walking through the pavement of my street, I came across these gloomy flowers which were crying on their forlorn condition. I sat on the pavement and pondered upon its delusional state, throwing flashbacks on the recent activities that might have occurred reminded me of smog episode and air pollution in Lahore.

 

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We are responsible for the world’s air pollution. For the sake of our comfort, we use fossil fuels such as coal and gasoline for heating as well as to operate transportation vehicles, in generating electricity, and in manufacturing and other industrial processes. These things which are used to facilitate ourselves, are creating air pollution. Burning these fuels causes smog and acid rain.

Power plants and factories emit much of the sulfuric air pollutants. Air pollution can damage vegetation, especially in major cities where there is an amalgamation of industries and smoke from vehicles. It is harmful to plants.In that way, Sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides enter leaf pores and damage plants. Pollutants also break away the cuticle of leaves that prevent excessive water loss, causing further damage to them that are important to the surrounding environment. Twitching out my thoughts, I watered the plant by taking water from the nearer tap and went on my way.

Smog in Lahore

 

Smog, a threat to the human life? Currently, smog levels in Lahore are pretty down. It is ranked 4th amongst the top 10 worst countries for smog. It is a chemical reaction of sunlight, nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds in the atmosphere. According to a report, a citizen of Lahore consumes 2 packs of cigarettes a day.

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Such immense consuming can cause aggravate health problems such as asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and other respiratory problems. This can also cause eye irritation, reduced resistance to colds and lung infections. Solution to this can be, creating laws to reduce smog and they should be strictly implemented. The laws may include restrictions on what chemicals a factory can release into the atmosphere, or when the factory can release them.

Communities should have “Burn Days” when the residents can burn their household waste such as leaves in their yard. These actions will limit the chemicals being released into the air, reducing the amount of smog. To sum it up, smog is a threat to human life but with some help from the authorities, we can overcome this crisis and make Lahore a better place for the upcoming generations.

Lahore Smog,An individual responsibility

Smog is a type of air pollution which is a mixture of smoke and fog. This describes the atmospheric condition of a particular area. This word was firstly used by H.A Des Voeux in 1905 to describe atmospheric conditions of towns and was popularized when he wrote a report on smog abatement league due to more than 1000 deaths were observed in Glasgow and Edinburgh during autumn of 1909 from this mixture of smog and fog. smog is of two types, sulfurous smog, and photochemical smog. Sulfurous smog is known as London smog which is caused by high concentration of sulfur dioxide coming from fossil fuels burning, coal, and due to the high concentration of suspended particles.

Photochemical smog is known as Los Angles smog that usually occurs in urban areas due to a large number of vehicles. This type of smog doesn’t need fog and smoke. Only nitrous oxides and hydrocarbons coming from vehicular emissions are needed.in Lahore photochemical smog is observed in summer while sulfurous smog is observed in winter. Air pollution is increasing due to industrialization and urbanization causing a destruction of our environment and affecting our climate. Climate has totally changed now. Smog is affecting our health while climate change is affecting our future in negative ways.

Lahore is one of the heavily populated cities of Pakistan having so many industries in its adjoining areas. A beautiful and charming city is now suffering a very dangerous type of air pollution known as smog just because of its citizen’s carelessness and selfishness. We are not safe either it is winter or summer. In winter a thick blanket of fog is mostly observed around us when we are unable to see one another at a small distance. When we come out of our home with the fear of getting ill and being injured in an accident. This fog reduces visibility to 0 level, not only visibility but it also puts the citizen into zero level work condition.it effects country’s economy very badly. It has many harmful effects on our health.

People have suffered from diseases such as asthma and lung diseases. Many people have died from smog in past years. According to Deutsche Welle Website, Lahore is now on the list of top 10 cities having worst smog in the world in 2014. Worst smog in Lahore is also observed in 2017.Smog in Lahore is not only observed in winter even also in summer it is observed. Reasons of this smog in Lahore are;

 

  •  Cutting of trees for construction purpose
  • Establishment of industries such as coal power plants and nitrous oxides emissions from it
  • Emissions from burning of Fossil fuels
  • Vehicular emissions
  •  Burning of agriculture crops

 

The government of Pakistan has taken strict actions to control smog as more than 500 people complaint daily about the eye, throat irritation, accidents and deaths due to smog. Thirteen power plants were banned for working more than 12 hours, 100 people were arrested for burning crops. Lahore police have said that they have collected fines from drivers for not following emission standards in recent smoggy days was about 50,000$. Although many media campaigns have started by the government of Punjab and also by many private societies to provide awareness to people about smog. But still, there is need to make people understand about environment importance in their lives. This is all due to individual’s carelessness because we are playing a major role in our environmental destruction. But we need to understand that if there is no healthy environment then there will be no good future.

Smog has many health effects such as coughing, throat and chest irritation while leads to lung damage after exposure to smog for a long duration. breathing problem at the start may also lead to asthma attacks. eyes and nose irritation is mostly observed. According to World health organization, more than 60,000 people have died from air pollution.so we need to take certain precautions such as we must wear masks and glasses while working in smoggy areas or going outdoors. Try to avoid areas having more traffic preferring fewer crowd roads. The burning of agricultural material should be avoided. The high speed of vehicles should also be avoided. Fuel-efficient vehicles such as hybrid and solar energy consuming vehicles should be preferred.

We must use public transport and should prefer to walk rather than using our private vehicles. Because less fuel is consumed so prevention of smog creation will be done. this will not only reduce consumption of fuel and air pollution but also traffic issue would be under control Cutting of trees should be stopped. monitoring techniques for air emissions should be introduced in industries. But our first preference should be to work indoor while avoiding outdoor work. But the major reason for smog in Lahore is vehicular emissions and cutting of trees. The report that was presented to the government of Punjab has explained that the number of vehicles in Lahore has been increasing rapidly from the last few years. Trees act as regulators for the atmosphere as they make the air clean.in November 2017 Lahore was surrounded by dense smog We are responsible for making our environment unhealthy for us. We need to change our attitude towards it.

Although many of us have awareness about it we have to convey our knowledge to others. we need to protect not only ourselves but also our future generations. we are using vehicles for our comfort establishing factories to make lifestyle better and to earn more money without thinking about its harmful impacts without using monitoring techniques and cutting down trees for constructing our beautiful homes and other buildings without thinking about that what we are doing to our environment. We must think that if we have beautiful homes, more money and good lifestyle but the unhealthy environment and no health then it will be useless to have all that.