Smog level goes from hazardous to unhealthy after rain

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LAHORE: Rain and wind on Saturday reduced the density of thick smog that had engulfed the city for several days due to rising air pollution blamed on poor fuel quality and burning of stubble.

After the rain, the air quality went from being ‘hazardous’ to ‘unhealthy’ with an Air Quality Index (AQI) ranking of 157 on Saturday, making Lahore the third most polluted city in the world.

Uzbekistan’s Tashkent replaced Lahore as the second most polluted city, while Delhi retained its top position with a ‘very unhealthy’ air quality ranking according to Air Visual.

Due to smog, the Punjab School Education Department had announced to close all schools in Lahore, Multan and Faisalabad for two days on Thursday.

Since the start of November, Lahore’s AQI has witnessed an abrupt spike. According to experts, the increase in smog is due to poor fuel used by vehicles and industries. The government, however, blames it on India, where farmers burn crops’ stubble.

As per Lahore US consulate Air Quality Monitor feed, Lahore’s AQI was PM2.5 – 220 at 12 noon. In Gulberg, the AQI was 179, the Punjab Assembly vicinity observed PM2.5 at 209, Upper Mall at 173, Sundar Industrial Estate at 189, DHA Phase 5 at 206 and Zeenat Block at 198.