Despite rain, smog persists in Lahore

Published December 11, 2020
Lahore: Motorists make their way along a street amid heavy fog on Thursday.—AFP
Lahore: Motorists make their way along a street amid heavy fog on Thursday.—AFP

LAHORE: Despite the rain visibly clearing Lahore’s air, smog levels in high density traffic areas continued to be unhealthy.

At the crowded Shimla Pahari area on Thursday, for example, an Air Quality Ind­­­ex of 205 was recorded while on Wednesday it was 175.

Provincial Disaster Man­agement Authority’s director operations Nisar Ahmed Sani told Dawn that there were three major contributors to the bad air quality: vehicular emission which was around 43 per cent; emission from kilns around 25pc and stubble burning and open burning along with other miscellaneous acts contributing to around 25pc.

“Currently we are taking action on all these polluters but our largest operation has been on the brick kilns, pushing them to convert to the Zig Zag Technology (ZZT),” he said. “Of the 7,000 kilns, around 3,000 have been converted to ZZT and the last deadline for the conversion is Dec 31. After that, no brick kiln [lacking ZZT technology] will be allowed to work, whether it is summer or winter.”

Mr Sani said that with cold weather smog became more visible with the air greying and thickening and dust particles and other particulate matter becoming more apparent, but the fact of the matter was that the air was also bad during months of May and June.

“There is also mist or fog that emerges nowadays in the early hours of morning,” he said.

Over the past three days, the Punjab government has been carrying out a crackdown, impounding 11,682 ve­­­hicles, sealing 2,728 ind­ustrial units and 1,759 brick kilns and arresting 547 persons with regard to violations of the Smog Policy.

Meanwhile, people of Lahore were relieved to have a change of weather even though pollution was still around.

Published in Dawn, December 11th, 2020

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