Smog

SMOG! This word has been hitting the headline news and have stirred the social media for the last few weeks. This toxic cloud of fog, pollutants and calm wind has descended on large swathes of Punjab’s capital and has engulfed the city in its notoriously noxious air. The issue is ballooning as smog that has persisted have cast a dry spell over the entire city.

The negligence of the Government together with the citizens is the root cause of ‘the fifth season’. But why are the children and the older people who probably once fought for an independent Pakistan struggling to breathe? Almost everyone on this side of the border blames Indian farmers for stubble burning. But is it the only reason? No. Is only Punjab government responsible for it? No. We, ourselves, are responsible for what we do. As the proverb says “As you sow so shall you reap”, I say, “What you reap, will make you weep”. Because we are feeding toxicity into nature and there is little mother earth can do to counter it.

So we first need to question our very own doings. Ask yourself, is your vehicle emission free? Do you ride in two stroke so-not-smoke-free rickshaw? Do you take public transport or prefer your very own chauffeured driven luxurious car? How many trees surround your house? How much resources you consume and the waste you produce? And then question the Punjab government who have not focused on green technology and policies. Ask them why they have yet not banned two stroke rickshaw? Why have they not made the cars expensive or set limit for the number of cars per house? Ask these industrial people if their industrial emissions are treated, controlled, monitored and reported?

Lahore is almost ALWAYS under construction which has caused a mess to its air quality. Almost 2200 trees have been cut down for the construction of Orange Line and then you confidently blame India for the smog in Lahore? It’s a high time to live in the reality guys! Emissions from rickshaws and other vehicles, industrial air pollution, urbanization, deforestation, trash burning, developmental projects, road dust, there are a whole lot of reasons that India is not to be blamed for. All these reasons have triggered PM 2.5 to climb up to 600ug/m3-crossing all the global safety benchmarks against the notified standards of 35ug/m3/day!

Hence, blaming a neighboring country and injecting falsities in the popular narrative is as unhealthy as the smog itself. It goes without saying that these lethal and deadly clouds have caused visibility and health issues across the entire city and I know you are also a victim of it. This smog has not only resulted in train and flight delays, road accidents, highway pileups but also school timings been pushed forward due to zero visibility in the early winter mornings.

We all feel this unpleasant dusty smell and brownish haze in air all the time that brings about irritating and watery eyes. Also, it is now no more an unusual sight to see people struggling to breathe and coughing the life out of them. You may have a stronger immune system than the rest of your fellows but caution is mandatory just like your Eid selfies. Health comes first so let go of what other people think and wear a smog mask, better to wet it. Wear eye protection goggles when required and better stay indoors.

On a larger scale, industries should realize to cut down their emissions and tree planting activities should be carried more often. This year clearly pronounces the worsening environmental degradation and indicates that Pakistan can no longer afford to remain oblivious to the growing air pollution. It is a high time to build a country that grows sustainably along with environmental.

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.

لاہور میں سموگ،اس کے اسباب اور سدباب کے لیے تجاویز

 

اکثر لوگ دھواں اور سموگ کو ایک جیسا سمجھتے ہیں جو درست نقطہ نظرنہیں ہے۔سموگ دراصل سورج کی شعاعیں، فوگ اور دھواں (فضائی آلودگی) کی آمیزش کے نتیجے میں بننے والی زہریلی اور آلودہ ہوا ہے۔ جب آلودہ ہوا میں موجود ہائڈروکاربن، سلفرڈائی آکسائیڈ، نائٹروجن آکسائیڈ، کاربن مونو آکسائیڈ اور دوسرے زہریلی گیسوں کاسورج کی روشنی  کے ساتھ  ری ایکشن ہوتا ہے  تو  اس کے نتیجے میں  سموگ بنتا ہے۔   اس کا انسانی ، حیوانی اور پودوں کے زندگی پر بہت گہرا اثر ہوتا ہے۔  سردیوں میں جب سردی بڑھ جاتی ہے تو   گیسیز سطح زمین کے نزدیک آجاتی ہیں لھذا یہ براہ راست انسان، حیوان اور پودوں پر اثر انداز ہوتا ہے ۔

لاہور پاکستان کا ایک گنجان آباد شہر اور صوبہ پنجاب کا دارالحکومت ہے۔ گزشتہ کئی دن سے  اس شہر کو سموگ جیسے  مشکل کا سامنا کرنا پڑا اور بالآخر بارش برسنے کی وجہ سے اب قدرتی طور پر  صورتحال نارمل ہو رہے ہیں۔  یہاں  ہم سموگ، اسباب، نقصانات پر بحث اور سدباب کے لیے چند تجاویز پیش کریں گے۔ ورلڈ ہیلتھ آرگنائزیشن کے رپورٹ (۲۰۱۴) کے مطابق لاہور میں ہوائی آلودگی کی شرح ۴ سے ۱۴ گنا ذیادہ  ہے۔ اس طرح اب لاہور تقریبا  ڈھاکہ اور دہلی کے برابر خطرے میں ہے۔انہوں نے  اس کے اسباب کا جائزہ لے کر  سدباب کے لیے  منظم منصوبہ بندی  اور انوائرمنٹل  پروٹکشن ڈیپارٹمنٹ   کو فعال بنانے کی  ضرورت پر زور دیا۔    اس کے اسباب میں جنگلات کی کمی،  تیزی سے بننے والے انڈسٹریز، لوگوں کی دیہاتوں سے لاہور کی طرف ہجرت، آبادی میں اضافہ،  ڈیزل انجن گاڑیوں کا بڑھنا، سڑکوں اور تعمیرات سے اٹھتا دھواں، گاڑیوں، فیکٹریوں اور کارخانوں سے نکلنے والے زہریلی اخراج  سر فہرست ہیں۔  دوسری طرف ہواؤں کا رخ انڈیا سے پاکستان کی طرف ہونے کی وجہ سے  آلودگی منتقل ہوتی ہے۔ زراعت اور جنگلی حیات کی کمی کی وجہ سے لاہور میں سب سے زیادہ انسان سموگ سے متاثر ہوتے ہیں۔ سموگ  کی وجہ سے جہاں پودوں  کو نقصان ہوتا ہے وہیں انسانوں میں بھی اس  کی وجہ سے جسمانی طور پر بالخصوص بوڑھے، بچے اور مریض اور بالعموم عام شہری کو کھانسی، سانس لینے میں دشواری، آنکھ، سینے اور گلے میں جلن اور جلدی بیماری وغیرہ کا سامنا کرنا پڑتا ہے۔ دوسری طرف ماحولیاتی طور پر حد نگاہ کی کمی کی وجہ سے آمد و رفت میں دشواری، منٹوں کا راستہ گھنٹوں میں طے ہونا، ٹریفک حادثات، سکول اور دفاتر کا شیڈول، بجلی کی ترسیل میں رکاوٹ اور دکانوں کا بند ہونا جیسے مسائل کا سامنا ہوتا ہے۔  اس سے بچنے کے لیے جتنا ہو سکے گھر سے باہر نہ نکلنا یا کم نکلنا، باہر جاتے وقت ماسک پہننا تاکہ ہوا فلٹر ہو، آنکھوں کو بار بار دھونا اور عینک لگانا، مکمل شرٹ پہننا، اگر کوئی مسئلہ ہو ڈاکٹر کو رجوع کرنا وغیرہ نہایت ضروری  ہیں۔

اس مسئلے کے سدباب کے لیے انفرادی اور اجتماعی دونوں سطح پر کام کرنا ہو گا۔ انفرادی طور پر ان افعال سے بچنا  جن لی وجہ سے سموگ بنتا ہے۔   جیسے خراب اور پرانے انجن والے گاڑیوں کا استعمال، کچرہ کو گھر کے باہر جلانا، دھواں کم سے کم پیدا کرنا، ہر گھر میں درخت لگانا اور بجلی جیسے  دوسرے  زرائع کا ذیادہ سے ذیادہ استعمال  جن سے آلودگی نہیں ہوتی ہے۔ اجتماعی ذمہ داریوں میں معاشرہ اور حکومت شامل ہیں۔ معاشرتی سطح ہرٹاؤن میں  بلدیہ کی نگرانی میں  ایسا کمیٹی ہو  جس میں ہر محلہ کی نمائندگی ہو جو اپنے ٹاؤن کے ماحولیاتی مسائل کو حل کرنے کے لیے اقدامات کرے   ۔ شجر کاری ایک مؤثر طریقہ ہے  جس سے سموگ کنٹرول کیا جا سکتا ہے۔ لھذا لاہور میں اس کا مہم شروع کیا جائے اور جن علاقوں میں جگہ کی کمی ہو وہاں گھر کے چھت پر کیاریاں لگا  کر اس مقصد کو حاصل کیا جا سکتا  ہے۔  حکومتی سطح پر   سب سے اہم کام یہ ہے کہاول تو انوائرمنٹل  پروٹکشن دیپارٹمنٹ کو فعال بنائیں ، اس کے وسائل میں اضافہ کیا جائے، اس کے عملہ کو تربیت دی جائے، اس  کے اختیارات میں اضافہ کیا جائے  تاکہ وہ مؤثر طریقے سے  ان مسائل سے نمٹ سکے۔  دوئم کہ حکومتی پالیسی کے تحت شہر کے اندر سے کارخانوں اور فیکٹریوں کو باہر نکالنا تاکہ ان سے نکلنے والے آلودگی کو کنٹرول کر سکے۔ ڈیزل انجن گاڑیوں اور موٹرسائیکلوں کو جامع منصوبہ کے تحت بجلی میں بدل دی جائے۔ چمنی اور دوسرے دھواں چھوڑنے والے مراکز کو شہر بدر کیا جائے، حکومتی سطح پر شجر کاری کریں۔  تیسری یہ کہ دوسرے شہروں میں بھی تعلیم و کاروبار کو فروغ دیا جائے تاکہ ہجرت میں کمی ہو   ،  چوتھی عوام میں سموگ کے نقصانات سے متعلق شعور اجاگر کریں   اور آخر میں  ہمسایہ ملک پر دباؤ بڑھایا جائے  تاکہ سرحد پار سے آنے والے آلودہ ہوا پر  قابو پا سکیں۔

تحریر: محمد یوسف

SMOG its reasons and solutions

A loud jumble of cars blaring, motorcycles rumbling, people yelling in the midst of traffic jams on the bustling roads of Lahore; covered in thick, choking clouds of toxic smog has caused many road accidents and severe injuries in past recent weeks. An episode of smog has been observed in Lahore since last year. NASA published an image on October 23,
2016 that showed crop fires in India. The burning of crop residue adds greenhouse gases, nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, volatile organic compounds to the atmosphere, thus contributing to smog formation. It was inferred that these crop burnings was one of the major reasons of smog in Pakistan and India. This year smog is also observed. Crop burning alone cannot be the reason for this smog. There are multiple factors behind
it. Excess of Urbanization, industrialization without proper strategies and yes not to forget building of orange train lines by destroying plantation and without SOPs, use of fossil fuels, they all have contributed to this smog.

Lahore was blanketed by thick smog that impacted the lives of citizens. The atmosphere was highly polluted with the toxic oxides that reduced the visibility of areas causing traffic jams, accidents. Students, teachers, officers, workers did not reach their destinations on time. The schools timing were delayed because of heavy traffic.
The health of individuals was adversely affected causing eyes irritation, respiratory problems. The particulates in the air contained sulfates, nitrates, black carbon that penetrates into lungs and cause lung cancer, chronic and acute respiratory diseases, asthma. There are chances of stroke and heart diseases. It is harmful to older and young people as well when pregnant women are exposed to smog, it causes premature deaths, potential birth defects, and low birth weight.
The pollutants present in smog affected the crops and reduced their yield making them vulnerable to insects.We all know that industrial revolution has revolutionized the technological breakthroughs and their
application. The growth of coal-based industries took place at a rapid pace, thus discharging the sulfur oxides in the environment. As the concentration increased, it took the form of air pollution. It is the need of time that we shift towards sustainable practices, only then we can change the situation.
The government of Punjab issued an action plan to combat with smog that included issuance of health and traffic advisory, ban on burning of crop residues, shutting down of smoke emitting factories,
introduction of low –sulfhur fuels, control burning of municipal waste, Plantation of trees, Use of public transportation. The proper implementation of these policies can help us to protect the environment.
Recently, Daan Roosegaarde, Dutch artist suggested a creative idea, Smog vacuum cleaner which is a futuristic tower that slurps smog, converts it into clean air, filters out the smog particles and release the clean and fresh air back into the city. The smog particles are compacted and turned into gems. These diamonds can be used for ornamental purposes.Only by innovation and research we can diminish and regulate the environmental crisis. It’s our responsibility to think and device new ventures to combat the environmental issues.