Lahoris gasping for breath

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LAHORE: The smog in Lahore continues to rise as the Air Quality Index (AQI) broke previous records once again, reaching as high as 732 on Wednesday.

According to the details, the AQI in Zeenat Block stood at 732 while the Punjab Assembly area was close behind with an AQI of 731. Similarly, residents of Upper Mall, DHA Phase 5, and Liberty are suffering AQIs of 647, 401, and 376 respectively.

 

According to Air Visual, an organisation that provides free access to the world’s largest air quality database and ranks the world’s cities according to the AQI, Lahore ranks among the five worst cities in terms of air quality.

However, unlike the Indian government that has imposed a health emergency in the capital city, the Pakistani Punjab government has failed to take any concrete measures to combat the menace of smog.

The government only seemed interested in shifting the blame instead of taking measures to control air pollution.

According to the Pakistani Air Quality Monitoring Project, there are many reasons to be worried about the air quality in Lahore, with a yearly average of 68 µg/m3 of PM2.5, which corresponds to a 155 – Unhealthy Air Quality Index.

A World Health Organisation (WHO) report states air pollution causes a huge number of premature deaths. PM 2.5 is a hazardous pollutant that can penetrate into human blood through the lungs.

A real-time world map on the organisation’s website shows Pakistan in the red zone alongside India, indicating the poorest levels of air pollution and quality.

“Awareness of air pollution remains low in areas where real-time monitoring is limited but pollution levels may be high,” the report stated.

The report also mentioned that public awareness was essential not only to empower populations to respond to current conditions and protect human health but also was a cornerstone in driving action to combat air pollution in the long-term.