Lahore, 3rd Most Air Polluted city. How can we reduce SMOG in Pakistan???

Smog is a mix of smoke and fog which is severe air pollution that reduces visibility. When pollutants are released into the air, smog develops. Pollutants are created both naturally and by humans; however, the amount of pollutants produced by the burning and exploitation of fossil fuels, which are known to cause severe health impacts, is of particular concern. The source of smog is also a major source of concern, particularly for human health, because much of it is produced in cities where significant populations live.

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Impact of Smog environment:

Smog can persist over a location for a protracted period of time when it reaches an inversion layer (produced by warm areas in the upper atmosphere), exposing people to its effects for longer.

Nitrogen oxides come from car exhaust, coal power plants, and factory emissions. VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) are released from gasoline, paints, and many cleaning solvents. When sunlight hits these chemicals, they form airborne particles and ground-level ozone—or smog.

TOPSHOT – People commute along a street amid heavy smoggy conditions in Lahore on November 18, 2021. (Photo by Arif ALI / AFP)

Impact of SMOG on Health:

Ozone can be helpful or harmful. The ozone layer high up in the atmosphere protects us from the sun’s dangerous ultraviolet radiation. But when ozone is close to the ground, it is bad for human health. Ozone can damage lung tissue, and it is especially dangerous to people with respiratory illnesses like asthma. Ozone can also cause itchy, burning eyes.

Smog is harmful to humans and animals, as well as plants. Smog is also unattractive. It turns the sky a shade of brown or gray. Large cities with a lot of industry and traffic are prone to smog. Haze may be an issue in cities located in basins surrounded by mountains because the smog is confined in the valley and cannot be transported away by the wind. Because of this type of environment, both Los Angeles, California, and Mexico City, Mexico, have high smog levels.

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Residents can burn rubbish such as leaves in their yards on “burn days” in some towns. Smog is reduced as a result of these constraints on chemicals discharged into the air.

SMOG and other air pollutants have an impact on the Air Quality Index as it increases with pollution. Higher AQI is bad for health as it impacts lungs and a person can face breathing problems. The big question is, How can we reduce SMOG in Pakistan?

AQI of the cities:

An Air Quality Index (AQI) is a measure to communicate the level of air pollution and the prediction for future air pollution. South Asian countries have the highest (worst for health) AQI in the world. The big question is, How can we reduce SMOG in Pakistan?

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AQI polluted cities list:

How can we Reduce SMOG in Pakistan:

The following Dos and Don’ts can help us reduce SMOG and its impact on the environment and health:

Things to do:

  1. Reduce use of vehicles and work from home if possible. Companies should make it optional for the employees to work from home.
  2. Increase the habit of walking and cycling. Driving less has a good impact as it reduces the air pollution. When possible, walk, cycle, carpool, or take public transportation.
  3. Do regular maintenance of your vehicles to reduce the emission of smoke and other pollutant gases. 
  4. Select vehicles with better mileage as the emission of CO2 will reduce. 
  5. If possible choose Electric Vehicles (EVs), Hybrid Vehicles or Plug In Hybrid vehicles.
  6. Regular tune-ups, oil changes on time, and correct tire inflation can all help you get better gas mileage and lower your emissions.
  7. During the cooler hours of the day—at night or early in the morning—refuel. As a result, gas fumes do not heat up and produce ozone.
  8. Avoid goods that emit a lot of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Use low-VOC paints, for example.
  9. Gas-powered lawn equipment, such as lawn mowers, should be avoided. Instead, use electric appliances.
  10. All industries must use emission control systems to improve the Air Quality Index

Things not to do:

  • Burning of any type of crop residue increases SMOG
  • Driving Vehicles emitting visible smoke and pollutants falling into inadmissible limits.
  • Usage of stone crushers operating without wet scrubbers
  • Burning solid waste, tyres, rubber, and plastics
  • Usage of sub-standard fuels
  • Leaving dumping/storage of construction material uncovered

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