LAHORE: Lahore was ranked as having the worst air quality on Thursday after air quality went up to ‘hazardous’ with the Air Quality Index (AQI) swaying between 250 and 300.
The provincial government ordered all public and private schools to remain closed in Lahore, Gujranwala and Faisalabad on Friday because of the deteriorating air quality, according to an official notification by the Punjab School Education Department.
According to the international monitoring agency, AirVisual, the air quality in Lahore and adjoining districts is not safe for humans and animals alike. The data indicates that AQI readings ranging between 169 and 380 are currently being recorded in several areas of the metropolis and the surrounding districts.
Furthermore, the atmospheric reading of Lahore was recorded as 195 microgrammes per metre cubed. This indicates that the air quality of Lahore is nineteen times worse than what is deemed safe to inhale for humans and animals.
Even after imposing a ban on burning crop residue and garbage in open spaces, several fires have been reported in various districts of Punjab. Many fires have been spotted near Kala Shah Kaku and Shahdara areas according to AirVisual’s heat map.
Official data released by the Punjab Environment Protection Department (EPD) indicate that the air quality in the provincial capital is satisfactory, with an AQI of 183. Wagha air monitoring station is 397. The department has cautioned citizens to stay hydrated and wear masks and glasses to lessen the effects of smog.
Medical practitioner Muhammad Asfaq spoke to media sources and said ordinary disposable masks are not enough to protect citizens from these dangerous levels of pollution.
He advised citizens to purchase special masks designed to keep the wearer from inhaling the hazardous air.
“These marks are expensive. However, they will be able to better protect you from the effects of smog,” he maintained.
Amnesty International has called for Urgent Action for the people of Lahore to mobilise global support base to campaign on behalf of the city’s population because of the hazardous smog suffocating it.
If you want to know what climate change is doing to our planet, look at what the smog does to YOU. pic.twitter.com/SVDzBAhzcV
— Amnesty International (@amnesty) November 14, 2019
Recently, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam announced that the government is initiating a special programme, in collaboration with the World Bank, to address air quality issues.
Extreme health issues like asthma, lung damage, heart problems and shortened life expectancy result from too much exposure to the pollution.
Severe health issues including asthma, lung damage, bronchial infections, heart problems and shortened life expectancy result from prolonged exposure to the deadly pollution.