Smog keeps on choking Lahore despite govt`s measures

LAHORE: The city of Lahore woke up to a gray morning on Tuesday with a hazardous level of air quality of 421 at 5am.

The sun was a mere dull glow behind a thick blanket of smog. The air quality index (AQI) soared to a hazardous 406 at 9:30pm as the city had once again become the most polluted city in the world.

The AQI levels in different areas of the city were even higher than the average. The worst affected areas were: FAST University Lahore 502, Fida Hussain House 492, CERP Office 476, Polo Ground Cantt 455, Shahrah-i-Quaid-i-Azam 446, NETSOL LHR OD 444, Syed Maratib Ali Road 425, University of Management and Technology 418, Phase8-DHA 416 and PakistanEngineering Services (Pvt) Ltd 414.

The causes of the smog are complex and multifaceted, involving both natural and human factors. Some of the natural factors include low wind speed, high humidity, and temperature inversion, which trap the pollutants near the ground.

Some of the human factors include vehicle emissions, industrial activities, crop burning, brick kilns, and garbage burning, which contribute to the high levels of PM2.5 in the air.

The experts say that the government is not doing anything to tackle the root causes of the pollution and is also not implementing long-term solutions including shifting to renewable energy sources, improving public transportation, and promoting green spaces.

Caretaker Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi launched a crucial initiative following artificial rain to combat risingsmog levels.

He arranged for a spe cial team of environmental experts from China to visit Lahore next week.

The decision stems from Mr Nagvi`s commitment to conducting an in-depth study with international consultants to unveil the root causes of escalating smog.

Expressing concern, Mr Naqvi stated, `It is regrettable that we lack authentic research on the reasonsfor the surge in smog. Addressing smog requires more than hearsay and speculation.

Comprehensive measures to safeguard public health can only be formulated with authentic data.

In an appeal to the public, he urged people to wear masks as a protective measure against diseases. He directed a crackdown on sellers of substandard petrol and diesel, emphasizing the need for administrative action against those engaged in such practices.Mr Naqvi emphasised a shift in strategy, advocating for a thorough cleaning of soil from the roads instead of merely sprinkling water. He directed an increase in the number of teams responsible for washing roads, ensuring a more effective approach.

Mr Nagvi`s chaired the Cabinet Committee for Anti-Smog at the Chief Minister`s Office.

Environmental and health experts provided detailed insights into the current smog situation.

Provincial ministers Dr Javed Akram, Mansoor Qadir, Amir Mir, Azfar Ali Nasir, Dr Jamal Nasir, Bilal Afzal, and Ibrahim Hasan Murad, chief secretary, inspector general police, chairman of the Planning and Development Board, senior member of the Board of Revenue, and secretaries of departments, along with environmentalists and health experts, participated in the meeting.