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(By Muhammad Luqman) The return of smog could mean even more air pollution for Lahore
Lahore’s air pollution crisis could take a turn for the worse as experts say smog is likely to engulf the city again.
The air quality index (AQI) values in Lahore are well over 300, according to air pollution and city rankings by AirVisual, a well-known air pollution measuring app.
According to weather experts, if the winds from India come to Pakistan, it could cause problems. The Pakistan Meteorological Department has warned residents that if this dry weather persists, the smog is likely to return.
“There are always chances of smog in November and December. It can develop due to a rainfall gap as well,” Chief Meteorologist Muhammad Riaz told SAMAA TV.
The main causes of smog are crop burning, smoke from brick kilns, air pollution from traffic and factories in Lahore. The Punjab government imposed a temporary ban on burning crops and decided to shutdown brick kilns to combat the problem.
WWF Director General Hammad Naqi Khan said that some steel mills that were closed down earlier are still running and air pollution from transport has been ignored. I doubt the smog can be controlled if the situation remains the same, he said.
In 2017, the Smog Commission proposed the installation of 30 air quality monitoring stations across the province.
The director of the Punjab Environment Protection Agency, Naseemur Rehman,said that they have eight monitoring stations and nine mobiles. “We are trying to install at least one system in all 36 districts [of Punjab],” he added.
The city has been experiencing smog for three years. An estimated 60,000 Pakistanis died from exposure to higher levels of fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) in 2015, according to the World Health Organisation.