As temperatures fall, citizens of Lahore – the provincial capital of Punjab – have starting waking up to a familiar dystopic sight: thick layers of smog blanketing the entire city.
Vehicle emissions and smoke from kilns and factories are cited as the biggest reason behind the hazardous air quality in Lahore. On Sunday, hazardous air quality was reported from most parts of the city. Residents of Lahore also complained about the poor air quality on social media.
Medical experts say that people are beginning to suffer from lung disease due to the polluted air. Residents are being advised to stay indoors at times when the air quality is hazardous.
They have also been advised to use masks, wash their eyes and nose with water when returning from the open air. Newborns and children should not be taken out in open air during smoggy weather. Medical experts have also called for special care of patients of asthma, heart and lung disease.
The Punjab government has declared the smog phenomenon ‘a calamity’ and has directed the administrative secretaries concerned, commissioners and deputy commissioners (DCs) to make concerted efforts for mitigation of this health hazard across the province. The DCs have already been delegated powers of the relief commissioner to take all necessary measures to control smog.
Since at least 2014, smog has been a routine affair in the provincial capital from October to January. In November last year, smog levels reached hazardous levels in Punjab with Faisalabad and Lahore topping the list of world’s most polluted cities.
Till February this year, Lahore was among the most polluted cities in the world with the city’s AQI score exceeding 500 to hazardous levels.