AQI touches 433 mark as rising smog rings alarms bells in Lahore
Smog emergency plan presented in Lahore High Court
Vehicles make their way over a bridge amid heavy smog conditions in Lahore.–AFP
Pollution in Lahore’s atmosphere is increasing at an alarming rate as the city’s Air Quality Index (AQI) was recorded at 433 on Thursday morning, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.
The hazardous air quality or smog as is ordinarily called has started taking its toll on people’s health as they have started falling prey to skin, eye and throat infections.
The issue of smog has become so serious in the Punjab capital that it has topped the list of world’s most polluted cities on several occasions in recent weeks, so much so that now it has started making headlines in the world media.
Apart from that, air pollution is now no more Lahore-specific issue as other Punjab cities such as Faisalabad, Gujranwala and Hafizabad are also blanketed in thick smog for the last several days.
Our correspondent from Hafizabad adds that people of the city and its surrounding areas have started developing eye infections besides experiencing breathing difficulties as pollution levels are exceedingly high due to the burning of crops’ stubble.
Besides that, visibility has also dropped considerably as thick smog hovers of the city and its outskirts in the shape of a cloud.
The gravity of the situation has forced the locals to demand the administration take steps to rid them of air pollution.
The situation in Gujranwala is no different either as people here too are at the mercy of thick blanket of smog that has made their eyes to pain and made them experience difficulty in breathing.
Feeling gravity of the situation, Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) has started a campaign to make people aware of the hazards of smog.
The party has also started distributing masks and pamphlets among the people so that they could prevent themselves from pollution.
The party has demanded the district administration to crack down on the people whose activities are exacerbating the problem.
Meanwhile, the Punjab government is going ahead with its action against those who are adding to the air pollution through different activities and violating section 144 enforced to prevent a group of people from assembling at different places.
Punjab Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) has said that so far 127 people have been taken into custody for violating section 144, while fines worth Rs60 million had also been imposed.
The PDMA has said that 2, 500 FIRs have also been registered in different parts of the province over the violation of section 144 in Lahore and other parts of Punjab. “Over 38, 000 smoke-emitting vehicles have been issued tickets in the provincial capital and other cities of the province, while 2, 500 such vehicles have also been impounded in the last few days,” the Authority disclosed.
Similarly, it went on to add that it closed down 324 small and large industrial units releasing pollutants into the air.
At the same time, it added, the environment department has also sealed over 300 brick kilns in Punjab.
The court ordered to reduce the attendance in private institutions to 50 percent for a week and also sought a traffic plan to check smog while directing authorities to set up a traffic emergency call helpline.
Reporters Malik Ashraf, Fariha Batool, Mian Azhar, Zahid Iqbal Rana and Ali Ramay