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.