Every year smog causes hazard to public health and safety with coming of winter season in Pak
Smog overcomes Lahore and several other cities of the country from November to December which disrupts airflow and traffic movement on roads. As a result, economic damage and disruptions in transport logistics causes huge loss to the national exchequer.
According to a World Health Organization (WHO) report in 2015, approximately 60,000 Pakistanis died of higher levels of toxic, Particulate Matter (PM2.5), which was directly associated with environmental disorders.
Renowned physician Dr Tehsin Riaz said “Smog causes itchy eyes and sore throat. There was clear evidence that polluted air causes depression and Alzheimer’s disease, an irreversible brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills”.
The Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) said in its recent report that “Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) stations did not provide sufficient information during smog season, adding, they could only provide a reading of fog-points’ measurement and its observations”.
Punjab Environmental Protection Department Director Misbah ul Haq Lodhi said “Punjab Government had decided to close conventional kilns in consultation with the Smog Commission, which had been tasked to identify the root causes of fog generation, and to formulate policy by prescribing a plan to protect people’s health in Pak”.
Punjab Provincial Minister for Environment Protection Bao Muhammad Rizwan said “Punjab government has taken several emergency measures to counter smog, including a strict ban on burning crops and solid waste”. He said more than 100 people were arrested for crop burning last year.
The officials of Lahore Traffic Police department said they have collected more than US $ 50,000 in fine in recent days from drivers violating emissions standards. Punjab government has set up two centers for checking commercial vehicles for compliance of environmental rules.
Environmentalists said, “We have urged Punjab government to take real solution and concrete measures to improve fuel quality, introduce solar and other renewable energy resources, phase out fuel-guzzling vehicles, devise policy for massive tree plantation and improve public transportation to reduce the number of vehicles on the much busy roads.”