Since the past few years, the people of Lahore have had to worry about more than just the winter chills – they have to be concerned about the thick blanket of smog that engulfs the city. However, this year, the beautiful walled city is suffering more than ever with the air quality reaching a hazardous level.
According to the World Health Organization, anything above level 300 on the Air Quality Index (AQI) is considered hazardous. Lahore is at 640. Hence, people in the city are advised to keep outdoor activities limited and to step outside with a mask on.
What is smog
Smog is a form of air pollution. This term was popularised in 1911 after more than 1,000 “smoke-fog” deaths occurred in Great Britain during the autumn of 1909. The word “smog” is basically a combination of “smoke” and “fog”.
What causes smog
The core cause of smog is air pollution caused by cars, industries, burning of waste, etc. However, it is formed during autumn and winter because the wind speeds are low. The formation of the fog mainly takes place when heat of the sunlight reacts with harmful gases and chemicals already in the air.
Therefore, a fact that needs to be accepted is that the chemicals that cause the smog. have been created by human beings. And yes, the situation will further worsen if effective measures aren’t taken.
Today, there might just be smog in Lahore. But tomorrow, other cities of Pakistan will suffer the same fate unless precautions are taken NOW.
The health effects
How to counter smog
After decades of polluting the environment, we are now suffering the consequences. Fortunately, it’s not too late to mend our ways – all we need to do is modify our lifestyle by performing environment friendly activities. Sure, we can’t shut down the industries or the chemicals they induce in the air, but we can definitely make a difference by simply doing our part.
Reduce traffic: The most important step is to reduce the pollution caused by cars everyday. All you have to do is to make an extra effort by opting for public transport such as buses whenever possible. If you can walk somewhere, always choose that option over driving. Also, carpool for office or university instead of travelling on your own.
You also have the option of buying an electric vehicle. Not only will this benefit the environment, but will also save you from the soaring fuel rates.
Conserve electricity: This includes simple steps such as turning off the switches of a room when we step out, reducing air conditioner usage, disconnecting appliances when they aren’t being used etc.
Planting trees: Make the city or town you are living in green by planting trees and other plants.
Solar power: Installation of solar panels should be encouraged at homes and commercial establishments so that decentralised power is generated with suitable subsidies.