Noxious smog chokes Punjab, pollution levels soar

Lahore's AQI Index recorded higher than 400

Sky clouded with thick and grey smog. Towering and tall buildings swallowed by a blanket of haze. Coughs and sniffles echoing in the air. People struggling to breathe. In Lahore, it's that time of the year again.

The AQI Index of Lahore was recorded above 500 throughout the last week. At one point, the provincial capital was declared the most polluted city in the world as well.

The crisis seems to be tightening its vice around Lahore as the weather changes. Other cities most affected by air pollution include Sahiwal, Faisalabad, and Raiwind.

Special Assistant to Punjab Chief Minister Hassan Khawar has called traffic the main source of air pollution. "To counter this problem, the government is working on big projects such as more flyovers and underpasses."

Khawar said that fines of more than Rs3.5 million have been imposed on 7,000 vehicles emitting harmful gases into the atmosphere, adding that the district administration has talked to oil marketing companies to ensure the sale of Euro 5 standard petrol in the upcoming months.

Smog levels in Punjab

Today, the Air Quality Index of 419 was recorded in Lahore early morning. An index of 704 was recorded at 6am in Gulberg, Defense 701, Meharpura 615, and a 531 index was recorded in Fatehgarh.

The smog levels remained high in other parts of Punjab too. An AQI of 384 was recorded in Sahiwal and Faisalabad recorded an index of 365 in the morning.

Due to smog, visibility levels throughout cities were reduced, causing problems for commuters and alarming serious health issues such as flu, cough, throat infection, breathing problem, and chest pain.

According to doctors, more than 100 smog infections are being reported in the province on a daily basis.

Exploring artificial rain

Meanwhile, Dr Munawar Sabir, director of the Centre for Integrated Mountain Research, revealed that his institute has been experimenting with artificial rain for several months and have completed the required arrangements to carry out the experiment.

He told SAMAA TV that they are making artificial clouds by mixing salt and dry ice into water. Once prepared, the rain will be poured down via planes, rockets, and parachutes.

"I am not turning seven skies into clouds. I am just trying to cash those clouds because it’s our duty to utilise them in a useful manner," Dr Sabir added.

The Met Office has, on the other hand, said that the artificial rain project is very expensive and used in areas completely deprived of natural rain.






Hassan Khawar

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