“Yay! Winters are coming; “fog” is all around”, yelled in excitement with “environmental” thoughts. On November 03, 2016, I woke up to witness a thick fog descending the area, blocking the sunlight, and the vision. First I got excited but when I started to ponder over it and seen the tribulations it is causing, I realized it’s not the winter fog coming around every winter, it is something else.
The cause of air pollution in Lahore – smog or fog? I shall call it air pollution rather than fog or smog, which seems ambivalent. There is no solid evidence that whether is it from India, where 32 million tons (30 billion kg) of leftover straw has been burnt by Indian farmers or is it from high levels of “fires and thermal anomalies” in Pakistan.
Wherever the cause has raised either from us or the other side of a border, the impact is global. Although there will never be a shortage of doubters, the scientific evidence is overwhelming that humans have impacted the planet, particularly over the last few millennia, like no other species ever has. It’s not only the climate that’s changed but the oceans, atmosphere, freshwater, land use and even the plants and animals that can’t survive and thrive in such environment.
“Prevention is better than cure.” But what if we don’t know the root cause of the disease, then how to prevent and further cure the disease. Why I call it air pollution and not smog or fog? “The international definition of fog consists of a suspended collection of water droplets or ice crystal near the Earth’s surface that lead to a reduction of horizontal visibility below 1km” (National Ocean And Atmospheric Administration, 1995) and Sulfurous smog, which is also called “London smog,” results from a high concentration of sulfur oxides in the air and is caused by the use of sulfur-bearing fossil fuels, particularly coal. And smog doesn’t vanish in days, it takes at least months or rain shower to dilute. Some people also called this fog with a suspended particulate matter.
Complex ecosystems and food chains in the environment provide unlimited services for the support of life. In the absence of damage, the environment is very efficient in self-stability through the complex interaction of living species. Humans benefit by being part of this ecosystem. Any harmful alteration by anthropogenic activities can give global impacts as can be seen as climate change and irreversible changes. The more we damage the environment, the worst and unforeseen the consequence will be.
The only human doesn’t hold the right, every another organism has equal rights to being the residents of mother earth. So what is vital to stop pollution? The main thing is what we have done afterward, after facing the consequences of our deed, the harm caused by our activities and impact on us, now taking precautions is not enough. There is a need for awareness, and that awareness can only be designed by the government to fully implemented stage. Like OXFAM is working on the campaign “Fight against climate change for food justice!” And everyone should be a signatory of that campaign not only the students but all the public because, at the end of the pipe, there are our children playing in the river of effluents.