LAHORE:The provincial capital ranked on top of the five most polluted cities in Asia while third across the world on Thursday. The top ranking of Lahore in the index of world’s most polluted cities showed that the ongoing campaign of city administration and the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) seemed an eye-wash.
Data collected from IQAir revealed that Lahore, Pakistan stood at the first place in the list of top five polluted cities in Asia with an Air Quality Index (AQI) of 171 on Thursday. Similarly, the US Embassy’s air quality data also declared Lahore’s air unhealthy due to its 171 AQI.
The other top four cities of Asia included Beijing (China) with 166 AQI, Delhi (India) with 166 AQI, Shenyang (China) with an AQI of 152 and Kuwait City with an AQI of 132. On the other hand, the most polluted city in world on Thursday as per IQAir was Portland (USA) where AQI reached 231 and the second most polluted city in the world was Seattle (USA) with an AQI of 212.
On the other hand, the air quality data issued by Environmental Protection Department (EPD) claimed that the AQI in Lahore at Town Hall was 119, at Township it was 160 and 210 in China Scheme and Karol Ghati area. It is pertinent to mention that EPD and District Administration were carrying out operations late in the night against polluting factories especially those operating in the Northern Lahore side and claimed to seal and stop many such units in the last couple of days.
Interestingly, as per the own data of EPD the AQI on Thursday was 210 in China Scheme and Karol Ghati area, which are considered a hub of steel related cottage industry, steel mills and other manufacturers who allegedly used substandard fuel like rubber, plastic, tyres and other unhealthy material due to which thick black smoke and ash is produced.
Environmental experts said that the EPD as well as the district administration started its operation against polluting factories very late. They said there were reports that many factories, which were sealed by the administration and EPD broke the seal and started operating again.
Provincial Secretary EPD while talking with the scribe said that the department was monitoring city’s AQI in a scientific manner and a dedicated control room was also established. He said the department was carrying anti-smog operations day and night.
Dr Tariq Chishti, a general physician said that intake of smog was very harmful especially for the elderly and children. He said the season was already changing and many people were already suffering from common flu and cough, which can be aggravated if they inhale smog.
He said breathing air pollution increased chances of getting sick with the flu and multiple studies have confirmed that exposure to elevated levels of air pollution increased the likelihood that one will become sick due to PM2.5, PM10 particulates, fuel exhaust, nitric oxides, sulfur dioxide and ozone.
Dr Zubair Afzal, an allergists said polluted air made symptoms of the flu worse for those who were already sick. Pollution particles rub against the bronchial tubes and create inflammation and irritation similar to flu symptoms. He said everyone should use face mask while going outdoor. He said that people should boost their immune system to fight with the side effects of the air pollution.
Meanwhile, the City witnessed a hazy day on Thursday while Met office said a westerly wave was present over northern parts. They predicted that dry weather was expected in most parts of the country.
Rainfall was recorded at several cities, including Dir, Pattan, Kakul, Kalam, Saidu Sharif, Peshawar, Malam Jabba, Balakot, Bacha Khan, Parachinar, Charat, Drosh, Chitral, Mardan, Garhi Dupatta, Kotli, Muzaffarabad, Rawalakot, Murree, Mangla, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Attock, Bagrote, Astore, Babusar, Chilas, Gupis and Gilgit.
Thursday’s minimum temperature was recorded at Leh where mercury dropped down to -03°C, while in Lahore, it was 18.8°C and maximum was 32°C.
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