The latest news updates of Pakistan tell that after the city’s Air Quality Index (AQI) went above 280, the provincial capital of Punjab has been ranked the most polluted city globally. According to the Air Quality Index data released on Wednesday, Lahore tops the list of the most polluted cities globally. On the other hand, PM2.5, which are tiny particles in the air that reduce visibility and cause the air to appear hazy, were found 46.3 times above recommended levels by WHO. Choking in acrid smog, the residents have requested the officials to take action on this matter. Here is all you need to know about the Lahore Smog, Its causes, and cures:
How Polluted Is Lahore’s Air?
The pollution level in Lahore is severely high, making it regularly ranked at the top of pollution rankings of major global cities. However, it became noticeable by the public only in 2017 the Government first published actionable air quality data. Due to the absence of publicly available government data, a network of citizen-operated sensors started to analyze the fine particulate matter, PM2.5. The data uncovered Lahore’s high levels of air pollution, shocking the public and making it a headline of almost every Pakistan newspaper. This publicity led to a public interest petition which was heard at Lahore’s High Court in November 2017. Authorities were ordered by the court to prepare an updated smog response action plan and publish daily or hourly updates about pollution, as done by the non-government monitors.
To date, Pakistani authorities still don’t publish any real-time PM2.5 air quality statistics. All data is gathered from non-government sensors. The U.S. Embassy in Islamabad and the three U.S. Consulates in Karachi, Lahore, and Peshawar started monitoring and publishing real-time PM2.5 data online at the beginning of 2019.
When Is Lahore’s Air Pollution At Its Worst?
The pollution conditions in Lahore worsen the air quality around the winter season. At the same time, the weather changes, causing the pollutants to remain trapped in the air for longer.
In November 2019 which is considered as the heart of Pakistan smog season, Lahore was listed number 2 regularly following Delhi only.
Is Lahore The Most Polluted City?
For the past few years, Lahore has been consistently on the list of most polluted cities globally. According to the recent air quality index reports, Lahore on Wednesday topped the list of most polluted cities in the world and reportedly has the worst hazardous air quality levels. Second, on the list is Kyrgyzstan’s Bishkek, and India’s Delhi and Kolkata are third and fourth, respectively.
Causes Of Air Pollution in Lahore?
Air pollution has only increased in Pakistan to reach severe levels in recent years. The Winter season, i.e., from October to February, is the peak time of smog when farmers in rural Punjab burn off remnants of crops producing smoke. Also, a combination of vehicle and industrial emissions, smoke from brick kilns, and dust from construction sites contribute to severely deteriorating the air quality. All of this smoke turns into inert clouds of smog because of the cold temperature.
How can air pollution in Lahore be reduced?
Here is a list of Some possible measures that can be taken to prevent any further air pollution:
- Real-time air quality data must be accessible to everyone so people know how much pollution they breathe. It’ll make it easier for them to take measures for their protection.
- Industrial and vehicle smoke should be reduced. It is critical to improving the air quality. While addressing his cabinet, Prime Minister Imran Khan said that tackling air pollution should be taken care of as a priority, and authorities should take measures to reduce pollution from brick kilns. Also, the establishment of 10 air quality monitoring stations in Lahore is planned under the Punjab Green Development Program (PGDP)
- Individuals can adopt easy measures in their daily lives to reduce pollution by carpooling or taking public transport and more.
Smog can be hazardous. With all this in mind, you should play your role in controlling pollution for your safety. Keep reading Pakistan Observer, the best English newspaper in Pakistan, for more updates.