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.
As you probably are aware our entire planet is a biological community, air contamination influences the soundness of environments by adjusting common biological community capacities, for example, essential generation, biogeochemical cycling additionally influences the biological system administrations. Air contamination has risen as a deadliest type of contamination and fourth driving danger factor for unexpected losses around the world. Because of expanding urbanization and anthropogenic exercises, Delhi in India, Beijing in China, Lahore in Pakistan, modern centers of the United States, London in the United Kingdom and a few Southeast Asian urban communities are among the most seriously brown haze influenced territories of the world.
Environmental change and a worldwide temperature alteration are adjusting the wellbeing of biodiversity and it will keep on threatening species natural surroundings for years to come. Brown haze is to a great degree hindering to the strength of every single living life form including human, plants and marine life and so forth.
In people, Smog is deadly for matured individuals, youngsters and the individuals who are now experiencing respiratory illnesses like asthma and bronchitis. Brown haze can cause birth abandons in babies and low birth weight. Substantial brown haze brings about a low creation of vitamin D prompting instances of rickets among individuals. Substantial Smog can come about decrease permeability by 70 percent and brown haze mists are risky to drivers, planes, bicyclists, and people on foot.
The quantity of unexpected losses and sicknesses caused via air contamination surpasses prominent reasons for general medical issues. Roughly, 1, 10,000 yearly passings in Pakistan are credited with air contamination. Encompassing air contamination causing more than 80,000 healing center confirmation for every year, around 8000 instances of perpetual bronchitis and 5 million instances of lower respiratory cases among children(World Bank,2009).
. In Lahore, Dust sources are found to contribute a normal 41% of the PM10 mass and 14% PM2.5 mass. The PM2.5 level in Lahore ran from 2 to 14 times higher than recommended limits. Significant commitment to PM2.5 in Lahore are soil, street, clean, modern emanations, vehicular discharges and auxiliary vaporizers.
Plants and creatures influenced by brown haze additionally endure huge worry under such unfortunate conditions. Photochemical exhaust cloud impacts in blended conifer woodlands along a characteristic inclination of ozone and nitrogen statement in the San Bernardino Mountains. Brown haze can cause ecological issues as it decreases the capacity of plants to store sustenance and water that additionally harms the proliferation and plant development.
In the eastern United States, an examination found that dirt and water fermentation can lessen the nourishing estimation of feathered creatures and the lower calcium accessibility in the earth. Exhaust cloud can make corrosive stores as corrosive rain, snow and clean which at last expanded temperatures and lower pH in the sea are causing issues for marine life. Corals reefs are encountering coral dying, as coral gives the zooxanthellae a place to live are influencing gravely.
For a perfect and sound condition, Punjab Environmental Protection act, 1997 does not permit to contaminate in abundance of PEQS. It permits to get the ecological endorsement of activities, before beginning or development. It likewise permits to EPA to control engine vehicles and pass Environmental Protection arrange. Along these lines, we ought to likewise add to keep our biological community spotless and sound.
Smog is a thick yellowish black fog which suspends in the air caused when air pollution, emissions, and fumes combine with fog and sunlight, forming a thick layer of smoke-like film in the atmosphere comprising nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and other aerosols. Lahore city has been witnessing this smog situation since last year.
This smog is the result of rising in industrial activities combines with unrestricted tree felling, vehicular emissions, growing number of crop fires, coal plant emissions burning in neighboring India which has worsened the air quality. This removal of green areas, the rapid rise in motor vehicles, soaring building construction activities, emission of heat from air conditioning units, generators and encroachments on natural rainwater drains have converted urban centers into heat islands. Some officials blame stubble burning by farmers as one of the reasons of smog while other claims trans-boundary pollution which is actually originating from the Middle Eastern countries that get hit by heavy sand and dust storms, which form dust clouds. These dust clouds travel thousands of kilometers to other countries, including Pakistan. These dust clouds – coupled with dust storms originating from the Thar Desert – form smog and aggravate the situation. The Lancet Commission has recently published a report that identifies environmental pollution responsible for premature deaths and diseases in rapidly industrializing countries like Pakistan, India, China and Bangladesh. Almost 22 percent of premature deaths in Pakistan are attributable to pollution. In another report published in The Lancet, 5 μg change in Particulate Matter (PM) 2.5 exposure was linked with a rise of a low birth weight at delivery.
Smog affects agriculture industry as crops required sunlight for their growth but due to smog sunrays are unreachable. Crop yield and quality is affected a lot by the formation of tropospheric Ozone (O3), PM and secondary organic aerosols (SOA). Elevated chemicals and toxins concentration in the air causes serious health problem such as coughing, bad lung conditions like asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, headaches, irregular heart beating which can result in chest pain. It even causes severe eye infections like irritation, redness, watering of eyes, burning sensations.
In order to avoid these problems, it’s better to stay at home and limit outdoor exposure and activities. Always wear personal protective tools such as a face mask, and Ultraviolet (UV) protective sunglasses when going out. Drink 2-3 liters of water a day that must include hot fluids that help to rinse lungs and throat. Having hot shower also helps in reducing ongoing exposure. Air Monitors and Air filters or purifiers must be installed at home to monitor and sanitize the indoor air. China is using a revolutionary technology that compresses the carbon from smog and converts it into valuable diamonds. More tree plantation can help to filter air and helps to remove greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and also increases oxygen concentration in return. Avoid doing outdoor walk and exercise in smoggy and hazy weather. Visibility in smog is reduced so avoid traveling through highways. Highway police have advised the drivers to reduce speed and use fog lights to avoid any incident. It is better to introduce new technology that utilizes solar and renewable energy sources that can be used for electricity production and transportation fuel. Also, fuel quality of vehicles must be improved. Local public transport system must be improved so that majority of the public travels by local transport and hence the number of cars on the roads are reduced.