Serious health issues as smog persists

December 06, 2023

LAHORE:Once again, the provincial metropolis topped among the world’s 10 most polluted cities as the air quality index (AQI) reached hazardous levels causing serious health issues for the citizens.

Data released by the EPD on Tuesday revealed that the AQI of the City reached 384 at 9am at Kot Lakhpat while at the same time it was 196 at Punjab University. At 12pm the AQQI at Kot Lakhpat was 216, at 3pm it was 156 and at 4pm at Punjab University it was 137.

Data collected from the IQAir revealed that Lahore was top among the world’s 10 most polluted cities, Dhaka was second with an AQI of 191 and Delhi was at the third position on the chart with an AQI of 189.

A man rides a horsecart along a street amid dense smog in Lahore on December 4, 2023. — AFP

The remaining 10 most polluted cities, included Wuhan, China (189), Hanoi, Vietnam (183), Beijing, China (173), Karachi, Pakistan (171), Shenyang, China (169), Poznan, Poland (167) and Baghdad, Iraq (166).

Overall the city residents witnessed hazy weather conditions, irritating eyes and throats besides blurring the vision. It seemed that the citizens were trapped in a gas chamber and there was no respite to them from this menace.

Doctors have warned the citizens especially children and older persons to stay indoors, avoid morning and evening walks as at both times the AQI is very high. On the other hand, the citizens were seen travelling on the roads without face masks, going to drop their children to schools without protecting them from the poisonous gases around them.

‘A strict policy is needed to keep the citizens aware of the fact that smog is dangerous and has long-term health impacts,’ said Dr Tariq Chishti, a general physician while talking with the scribe.

He said the main source of smog was vehicular and industrial pollution and the government should take serious measures to control both sources. Meanwhile, Met officials said continental air was prevailing over most parts of the country while a shallow westerly wave was present over northwest Balochistan.

They predicted that mainly cold and dry weather was expected in most parts of the country while smog/fog was likely in plain areas of Punjab, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and upper Sindh. Tuesday’s minimum temperature was recorded at Leh where mercury dropped to -09°C while in Lahore it was 10.4°C and maximum was 23.5°C.