Smog taking its toll on Lahoris

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LAHORE: A total of 345 cases of sickness owing to heavy pollution have been reported in different hospitals of the city, Pakistan Today learnt on Saturday.

According to the details, patients come in complaining of throat and nose issues in addition to watering eyes.

“Our Ear Nose Throat (ENT) department has been working non-stop since at least now,” said Dr Ehtisham, a staff surgeon in Combined Military Hospital (CMH).

“At least half the patients include children below the age of 10,” he added.

It may be mentioned here that medics and paramedics have repeatedly warned of added stress to the heart and lungs as well as accelerated ageing of the lungs if exposed to smog for long periods of time.

“There are 11 million people in this city for whom the government does not care. We have been forced to buy expensive air purifiers to protect ourselves. Multiple reports online and on the news state that life expectancy is decreasing by years. Maybe that’s what the government wants. It wants us to die so it has fewer people to deal with,” said a frustrated citizen Sumera Rizvi who was shopping for masks at a pharmacy in Gulberg area.

While speaking to this scribe, doctors from various hospitals revealed that cases of ENT issues had increased with the arrival of the smog.

Meanwhile, Dr Ali Haider, who runs a private clinic in Shadman expressed concern for the poor of the city. “People from less privileged backgrounds have no solution to the smog issue. In the past week,  asthma patients have come into my clinic wheezing,” he revealed.

Earlier last week, Lahore’s smog levels crossed 550 on the Air Quality Index as environmental experts and activists expressed horror and fear at what environmental catastrophe the near future holds.

According to the US embassy the air quality index (AQI) in Lahore on November 2, was 226, PM 2.5 and extremely hazardous.

On the other hand, the environmental protection department’s air pointer was giving the AQI of 189 in Lahore and showing the air quality satisfactory whereas the air pointer which was installed in Wahga was giving an AQI of 346 and showing the poor condition of air.

Punjab government’s claims of making efforts for controlling smog fell short when pollutants once again engulfed several areas of the province, including the capital.

Government officials, on the other hand, are blatant in their denial of their failure to implement the findings of the smog commission, as they continue to blame Indian farmers for the recent spell of smog in Punjab.