Lung-damaging toxic smog in Lahore reached its highest level in four years and set a record of 981 near The Mall on Wednesday, air quality readings show.
For months now, Lahore has been topping the list of the world’s most polluted cities. Pakistan’s second-largest city looks like one huge smokers’ lounge.
The AQI on Wednesday was recorded above 700 in most areas of the city. A level of 761 was recorded in Gulberg Town, 625 in Fatehpur, while the air quality in Model Town was recorded 591.
Experts say that smog is caused by air pollution that can not only cause accidents but is also harmful to health, and it is important to take precautions and use face masks. Rain can only recede the smog.
The Pakistan Meteorological Department has, however, predicted that smog will continue to blanket Punjab for another week as there is no rain forecast in the city.
Smog is formed by a mixture of pollutants and water vapours in the atmosphere. It can cause health problems such as asthma, flu, coughing, allergies, bronchial infections, and heart problems.
According to the Environment Protection Department, the primary contributors to air pollution include running vehicles, industrial emissions, and the burning of crop stubble.
A study has revealed that atmospheric pollutants like aerosols play an important role in smog. “One of the main aerosol types which is abundant in every smog episode is black carbon, which is responsible for radiation imbalance and is considered the main component in climate changes at regional and global level.
Dr Jai Prakash, a pulmonologist, says that bad air is toxic for every living organism. Not just humans, even plants and animals suffer because of these weather conditions, he said.
He detailed some precautionary measures that can be taken by people, especially those who spend a majority of their time outdoors.
- Wear masks, preferably two
- Wear sunglasses to prevent itchy eyes
- Wash as soon as you reach home
- Drink lots of water
- Keep a check on the AQI index and avoid areas where the air quality is poor
- Avoid exercising in smoggy conditions
- Avoid taking routes that are built up or congested
- If you have asthma, carry an inhaler