LAHORE: The health and environmental experts on Sunday said that exposure to smog was contributing toward spreading various health issues, including eye infections, allergies, coughing and irritation in the throat.
The experts suggested a number of preventative measures which could be helpful in dealing with smog and its resulting health hazards.
Dr Khalid Hussain from Services Hospital advised people to don face masks while outdoors to protect themselves against breathing problems and eye, nose and throat infections. He further recommended the wearing of sunglasses and the use of eye drops prescribed by an eye-specialist to prevent allergies and all sorts of eye infections. He emphasised that people should avoid rubbing their eyes.
Dr Hussain also suggested an intake of at least six to eight glasses of water every day. He also recommended taking hot beverages to rinse out toxins from throat and lungs and to help in curing cough and sore throat.
Dr Tehseen Riaz from Jinnah Hospital said that the presence of toxins in the air could aggravate asthma and allergy symptoms, making it difficult to breathe for many people. He advised people to sanitise indoor air through air filters and to avoid walking or exercising in the smog.
Chief Meteorologist Muhammad Riaz said that the alarming smog situation was due to pollution and a lack of rain, and also the smoke produced from vehicles, factories and burnt crops.
Protection of the Punjab Environment Department’s Director Environment Naseem-ur-Rehman said that a number of administrative preventative measures had been adopted to deal with smog. He said that section 144 had been enforced in the province till December 16 to prevent farmers from burning leftover waste from crops. In addition, around 150 factories causing heavy pollution in the region had also been closed down, according to the director. FIRs will be registered against violators, he added.
According to the noted expert on climate change Dr Mehmood Khalid Qamar, fresh readings about toxic gases, obtained through the recently installed monitoring equipment, showed
the level of carbon monoxide at 21.29 milligramme per metre (mpm) on The Mall, 17.52 mpm in Mohlanwal, and 6.94 mpm in Gulberg’s Liberty Market, whereas the maximum permissible limit is 5 mpm.
It is pertinent to mention here that the meteorological department has released a warning regarding the smog. According to the met office, the present smog is comprised of such harmful gases as nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide and other aerosols, while it is produced as a result of cold temperature and high pressure in the upper atmosphere. Suspended matter accumulates in the lower atmosphere, colliding with water vapour which causes a chain reaction that produces smog.
Meanwhile, motorway police have issued instructions to drivers to reduce speed and switch on fog lights to avoid any accidents.