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November 22, 2019

Thick smog blankets City

Lahore

November 22, 2019

LAHORE:Thick layer of smog engulfed the provincial metropolis here on Thursday while the Met office predicted scattered rain during the next 24 hours.

Figures revealed that the smog entered the category of ‘hazardous’ with Air Quality Index (AQI) going up to over 640 maximum and about 150 minimum. Such increased level has posed serious health issues for the citizens.

Met officials said that a westerly wave is affecting most parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, South western Balochistan and upper parts of the country and likely to persist in upper parts till Saturday morning. They predicted mainly cloudy weather in most parts of the country. However, widespread rain/wind-thunderstorms is expected in southern districts of Balochistan, scattered rain/wind-thunderstorms (with snowfall over mountains) is expected in districts of north Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, upper Punjab, Gilgit Baltistan, Kashmir and Islamabad while at isolated places in few districts of south Punjab and upper Sindh. Light rain/drizzle is also expected in few districts of Balochistan.

Rainfall was reported at Jiwani, Nokkundi, Gwadar, Dalbandin, Pasni, Turbat, Parachinar, Pattan, Cherat, Kalam, Upper Dir, Bannu, Malam Jabba, Saidu Sharif, Lower Dir, Balakot, Peshawar, Chitral, Murree, Islamabad (Z.P, A/P Trace), Chaklala, Attock, Chilas, Bunji, Gilgit, Astore, Bagrote, Muzaffarabad, Garhi Dupatta and Rawalakot. On Thursday lowest minimum temperature was recorded at Gupis where mercury dropped down to -02°C while in Lahore it was 11.4°C and maximum was 22.5°C.

On the other hand, environmental experts warned the general public to stay indoors to avoid hazardous effects of smog. They said that 0-50 AQI is considered “good” in which air quality is satisfactory and poses little or no health risk, 51-100 AQI is considered “moderate” in which air quality is acceptable and poses little health risk. Sensitive individuals should avoid outdoor activity as they may experience respiratory symptoms.

They added that AQI between 101 to 150 is termed “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” in which the general public and sensitive individuals in particular are at risk to experience irritation and respiratory problems.

Environmental experts said that the general public should greatly reduce outdoors exertion. Sensitive people should avoid outdoors activity and should wear a pollution mask outdoors. Ventilation is discouraged. Air purifiers should be turned on if indoor air quality is unhealthy.

The AQI between 151-200 is termed “Unhealthy”, which increased likelihood of adverse effects and aggravation to the heart and lungs among the general public - particularly for sensitive groups. Everyone should avoid outdoors exercise and take care to wear a pollution mask outdoors. Ventilation is discouraged. Air purifiers should be turned on.

The AQI between 201-300 is termed “Very Unhealthy,” which warned that the general public would be noticeably affected. Sensitive groups will experience reduced endurance in activities. These individuals should remain indoors and restrict activities. Everyone should avoid outdoor exercise and take care to wear a pollution mask outdoors.

The experts said AQI between 301-500+ is called “hazardous,” which warned that the people and sensitive groups are at high risk to experience strong irritations and adverse health effects that could trigger other illnesses. Everyone should avoid exercise and remain indoors. Experts said everyone should avoid outdoors exercise and take care to wear a pollution mask outdoors. Ventilation is discouraged. Air purifiers should be turned on.

Dr Azam Suleman, a child specialist, said that the levels of tiny particulate matter (known as PM2.5) that enter deep into the lungs are very dangerous for children. He said as per the WHO recommends that the PM2.5 levels should not be more than 25 micrograms per cubic metre on average in 24 hours. He advised the parents to keep their children indoors.

Naseem-ur-Rehman, EPD Director, while talking with The News said that presently wind direction is towards Pakistan from India therefore smoke from crop burning in India is coming towards Pakistan. He said level of smog near Lahore’s bordering area are much higher than inside the city. He said the department has started pre-smog activities in September by issuing notices to all smoke-emitting vehicles and conducting extensive meetings with brick kiln and other government departments.

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