Smog in Lahore: causes and solutions

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Smog is a type of air pollution which is most important problem of the recent times for developed as well as developing countries. It is formed by the mixture of different particulate matter in the presence of sunlight. A thick blanket of smoke surrounds the specific region which reduces the visibility and causes various viral and bacterial diseases. Smog can be responsible for any sickness from slight pains to fatal respiratory diseases such as lung cancer. In Pakistan (Lahore) on November, 2016 devastating smog has been observed which cause many health problems and serious road accidents which leads to many injuries and deaths in the city. NASA, predicts that it’s not a natural phenomenon occurs in Pakistan but it has been introduced by the perpetual rival.  In the modern age, states want to defeat each other without any nuclear weapon therefore they are using biological weapon. Recently this smog is not more than Indian air terrorism in Pakistan. It is an international phenomenon which causes fear and creates a state of shocking uncertainty in specific community. There is a need of comprehensive action plan to address deteriorating intensities of pollution not only in Lahore but all over the world in which NGOs and the media will have to play a vital role.

Air pollution is a key environmental problem affecting people across the world. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), more than 2 million people worldwide die every year from air pollution. Of all the air pollutants, fine particulate matter (PM) is one of the most hazardous pollution for the human health. The particulate matter causes about 9% of lung cancer deaths worldwide, 5% of cardiopulmonary deaths and about 1% of respiratory infection deaths. According to the WHO, there is mounting evidence that concentration of particulate matter is increasing in Asia. The particulate matter represents a complex mixture of solid and liquid particles suspended in the air, many of which are hazardous. These particles are either directly emitted into the air by sources such as smoke, dust, pollen, or formed in the atmosphere by transformation of emitted gases.

Air pollution in some Asian cities is so bad that at times, the cities are enveloped by a blanket of smog that impedes visibility. According to the WHO, air pollution has worsened in Asian cities in recent years and presents a threat to human health. In many cities the levels of fine particulate matter – a key pollutant in terms of its impact on human health – are exceeding the critical limit (as defined by the WHO), specifically in densely populated, fast-growing and less developed countries like India  and Bangladesh.

WHAT IS SMOG AND HOW IT IS FORM?

Smog is basically a combination of fog and smoke which occur mainly because of air pollution. Smog is blackish or yellowish fog formed by the mixture of different gases, particulate matter in the presence of sunlight. It is also known as smoky air which is responsible for suffocation and causes breathing problems. Pollutants in the atmosphere such as fine particulate matter and other gases react in the presence of sunlight are responsible for smog. These fine particulate matter and ground level ozone escaped into the atmosphere due to complicated photochemical reaction occurred between volatile organic compound, oxides of sulphur (SO2) and oxides of nitrogen. In winter month air becomes dense and calm as a result of which smoke and fog form a hazy cloud where people respires.

LAHORE SMOG AND HEALTH EFFECTS

Lahore is the capital city of province Punjab in Pakistan. It is the second largest city of the country while 32nd most populous city of the world. Unfortunately, the beautiful city Lahore now a day is under the hazy smoke where regular activities are on the verge of chaos. Smog is purely caused by air pollution. Pollutants emits from different sources release into the atmosphere such as burning of fuels, smoke from vehicular emission, fine particulate in the atmosphere, industrial plants, explosive material used near Pakistan border by India. The most important cause according to NASA is burning of rice stubbles sending smog to the Pakistan. On the other hand, fires and thermal anomalies by Indian Punjab near Pakistani border polluting air seriously as a result dense smoke spread nearby areas.  According to estimates about 32 million left over straw has been burnt by Indian farmers and this is an old age practice. Excessive crackers in Diwali celebrations across the border are also one of the chief reasons for spreading large amount of pollutants in the air at the outset of winter, 2016.

Ahsan Waheed Rathore Executive Director of Children’s hospital in Lahore spoke that number of affected penitents in hospital has been increasing due to severe smog condition in the city. Mr. Rathore reveals that about 600-700 children have come to the hospital for medical claiming that smog related sickness. It is reported that in Punjab almost 17 people have died due to smog related ailment. On the other hand many people were injured in road accidents on Lahore motorway.

Smog is not only harmful for human and animals but it has adverse effect on the plants and whole nature. Ground level ozone in smog not only inhibit the plant growth but it also damage the crops and vegetables as well like wheat, rice, tomato and cotton are substance to infection when they are exposed. Smog is well known for causing irritation in the eye. Hazy smoke not only responsible for bronchitis disease but it also reduce the UV radiation as a result people suffered from deficiency of vitamin D, ultimately it causes rickets disease. It may also result in inflammation in the tissues of lungs; giving rise to pain in the chest. The highly affected people include old person, kids and those who are suffered with respiratory and cardiac problems.

PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES:

It is not easy to eradicate this type of pollution but we can adopt certain precautionary measure to avoid the health hazards of smog:

  • we should minimize going outdoors
  • Keep your windows close and spend most of your time at home
  • Avoid exercising in smoggy conditions, particularly at midday when ground ozone levels are at their highest
  • Carry inhaler if you are asthmatic patient. If you notice any rapid deterioration in your condition, please consult your doctor.
  • Please wear your mask on the roads when you are on the bike or walking
  • Try and keep children indoors and do not let them play outside

CONCLUSION

It’s important to note that smog affects everyone differently, and some people are more susceptible to its negative effects. Unfortunately, in Pakistan there is no any air quality monitoring facility so that we can timely aware the masses about the dangerous effects of air pollution, in this regard Government of Pakistan should take necessary steps. It is the fundamental right of every Pakistani to enjoy a clean and healthy environment. It is the right of every working man and woman to be able to get to work and home again without getting sick. It is the right of every child to play outdoors without acquiring respiratory disease. According to Economic Survey of Pakistan, oil consumption of the country has been increased 263%. In Pakistan, we need to minimize the major source of air pollution: We should minimize the smoke emission of vehicles, and smoke from industries, burning of solid waste and dust etc.


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