Eyes, throat, breathing problems soar as smog reaches dangerous level

LAHORE: As Lahore remained at the top of the world’s most polluted cities, thick layer of smog turned the City’s Air Quality Index (AQI) very unhealthy here Monday.

Data collected from IQAir revealed that with an AQI of 279, Lahore remained on the top of the world most polluted cities the second consecutive day. Rest of the top nine most polluted cities in the world were Baghdad, Iraq (190), Beijing, China (188), Delhi, (186), Dhaka, (159), Mumbai (156), Jakarta, Indonesia (156), Wuhan, China (155), Kolkata, (154) and Krasnoyarsk, Russia (154). On the other hand, the City witnessed a hazy day and a number of citizens while talking with the scribe complained about irritation in throat, burning of eyes and difficulty in breathing. They demanded the caretaker chief minister announce holidays in schools as this kind of atmosphere was very dangerous for the schoolchildren.

The citizens also appealed to the chief minister to ban all kind of ongoing on scheduled construction activities in the City for the next two months as these sites were becoming major source of PM2.5.

Sources in EPA claimed that use of substandard fuel such as plastic and rubber especially in cottage industry around Bund Road was contributing a lot in increasing the smog. They said the EPA was not taking effective measures to tackle this issue and just eye washing measures were being taken. Sources further added that vehicular pollution was also one of the major contributor of the smog but no strict action was being taken against smoke-emitting vehicles. They claimed that the vehicles owned by public departments such as LWMC, Wasa, LDA, MCL, C&W lacked fitness certificates and were never checked by the traffic police and transport department.

Sources added that the machines used by the EPA to monitor the air quality were also not calibrated, which was due, so the data provided by them was not reliable.

When contacted, EPA DG Zaheer Abbas didn’t bother to attend the call while the department’s focal person was also not available to give official point of view over the dangerously rising levels of the smog.

Meanwhile, Met officials said continental air was prevailing over most parts of country. They predicted that mainly dry weather was expected in most parts of country while cold and partly cloudy in upper parts. Monday’s minimum temperature was recorded at Leh where mercury dropped to -03°C, while in Lahore, it was 16.8°C and maximum was 30.3°C.

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