Rain provide respite from smog


Rain cleared volatile matters which had increased smog’s toxicity

After suffering more than ten days amidst smoggy situation, which had prevailed due to the hazardous smog, citizens on Saturday had a respite due to drizzle in metropolis Lahore and other adjacent areas.

Yesterday, rain helped wash away the volatile matters that had made the smog even more toxic.

The recent spell of smog which was being observed in the city since the past two weeks was unusual and unpredicted, due to which people suffered in different ways, as citizens were found complaining of eye itching, respiratory and other airborne diseases. The smog not only provoked the citizens, but also the government to think over this developing situation.

However, yesterday, in different parts of Punjab—Lahore, Gujranwala, Sheikhupura, Okara, Faisalabad, Sialkot, Sahiwal—first downpour of the winter not only improved the atmospheric conditions, but it was also a nature’s gift for the people who were suffering the vulnerability of toxic smog.

Punjab government had setup a committee in the wake of unusual smog, which had made a large number of citizens to suffer with various airborne diseases. The government, which always remains reluctant to put any effort to safeguard its citizens from the vulnerability of air pollution, also seemed concerned about its citizens’ health. Different campaigns were launched by the government in electronic and print media to make the citizens aware about the smog and to educate them about pre-emptive measures before going out in the open air.

Fearful people, who were struck in their houses, avoided going outside. However, yesterday, they seemed to be enjoying the weather fearlessly. Many people, who wore face masks following the precautionary measures suggested by medics while going in the open air, were seen without masks.

Punjab University Environmental Science Principal Dr Sajid, while talking to Pakistan Today, said that there were just two ways to reduce the smog level in the city: Rise in temperature or rain. “Since there were no chances of increase in the temperature, the rain was the only chance to get relief from the smog,” he said, adding that volatile matters which had been added in the air have been washed away thanks to the recent rain. This will give relief to the citizens, he added.

Dr Sajid was of the view that the time has come that government should take pre-emptive measures to lessen the vulnerability of such hazardous scenario. “The government is still unaware of the actual pollution level in the city, while the EPA still seems to be reluctant at this time of vulnerability,” he added.

Dr Salman Kazmi, a senior physician at Mayo Hospital told Pakistan Today that they observed a great number of patients who suffered with irritation of eyes and respiratory diseases, and the number of such patients was increasing on a daily basis.

Dr Kazmi informed that during the last two weeks, medics observed around 40 per cent increase in the patients suffering with respiratory, eyes and other airborne diseases. “Now definitely there will be a decrease in patients’ number,” he said, adding that the government must initiate an awareness campaign about smog and its deleterious effect on the health of the people.

According to Met office, partly cloudy weather is likely to prevail in upper parts of the country during the next 24 hours, while light rain and thunderstorm with snow over the hills is expected at scattered places in Kohat, Bannu divisions, FATA, Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir.