LAHORE: The provincial metropolis grappling with a severe smog crisis is again ranked world’s most polluted city on Tuesday.

The AQI level in Lahore remained above 250 for most of the day on Tuesday, indicating a very unhealthy air quality, according to the air quality index (AQI) ranking by IQAir, a Swiss air quality technology company.

The highest AQI level was recorded at 10am, with a value of 475, which is close to the hazardous category. The lowest AQI level was recorded at 3pm, with a value of 258, which is still very unhealthy. The AQI level fluctuated throughout the day, showing a slight decrease in the afternoon and a sharp increase in the evening.

In response to the smog crisis, the Lahore Waste Management Company (LWMC) is intensifying its efforts to combat smog throughout the city. As a component of the anti-smog efforts, manual scraping operations have been conducted at key locations, including Babu Sabu Interchange, Saggian Toll Plaza and its surrounding areas.

The LWMC staffers operate in three shifts by implementing a multifaceted strategy. Manual scraping on roads exceeding 100 km and water sprinkling on those surpassing 300 km are underway daily, aimed at mitigating the adverse effects of smog.

LWMC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Babar Sahib Din said mechanical sweeping covers 950 km of roads, while mechanical washing targets 150 km.

He emphasised round-the-clock washing of all roads to ensure a dust-free environment.

LWMC spokesperson Umar Chaudhry said over 40 roads in the city were selected for the anti-smog plan. These are: Ferozepur Road, Jail Road, The Mall, Canal Road, Main Boulevard Gulberg, and Noor Jahan Road, Maulana Shaukat Ali Road, Peco Road, Allah Ho Chowk, College Road, Bagrian Chowk, Kacha Jail Road, Madar-i-Millat Road, Multan Road, Thokar Chowk, MAO Chowk, Chauburji, and Azadi Chowk.

He said the anti-smog campaign was also extended to Circular Road, Aik Moria Pul, Railway Station, Shalamar Bagh, Bhogiwal Road, Daroghawala, and Salamatpura. The effects of smog on human health and the environment are severe. Smog can cause or aggravate respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, such as asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, and heart attacks. Smog can also irritate the eyes, nose, and throat, and reduce the visibility and the quality of life. Smog can damage crops, plants, and buildings, and contribute to global warming and acid rain.

The experts said some of the possible solutions included implementing stricter emission standards and regulations for vehicles, industries, power plants, and brick kilns and promoting the use of cleaner fuels and renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind, and hydro power.

Published in Dawn, November 29th, 2023

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