Lahore has been declared as the world’s most polluted city as it faces a lot of emissions from various sources. Currently, the world is fighting against pollution and recommending all necessary methods to reduce global emissions. Most emissions are attributed to industrialization, which has taken over many parts of the world, and developed nations were fingered as serious culprits contributing to climate change.
Pakistan’s city of Lahore was seen as one-of-a-kind when emitting ‘pollutants’ into the atmosphere. This finding raised concerns among residents and visitors of this capital. Residents around Lahore pleaded with authorities to take stern action since they were being choked by acrid smog. Smog was seen covering large areas, especially the urban and residential. Vegetation was also covered IN dust particles, and such an occurrence is a health hazard to people.
A Swiss technology company, IQAir, focuses on air quality monitoring. IQAIR operates the AirVisual monitoring platform, and it carried out its rounds on determining air quality in Pakistan. The tech company revealed that “Lahore had an air quality ranking of 348 on Wednesday, well above the hazardous level of 300”. It was noted that the “PM2.5 concentration in Lahore air is currently 53.4 times above the WHO annual air quality guideline value” [Source].
Labourer Muhammad Saeed was saddened by the extent of Lahore’s pollution and aired out concerns towards the well-being of children. In an interview with the AFP news agency, Muhammad Saeed said, “Children are experiencing breathing diseases … for God’s sake, find a solution” [Source].
Residents’ outcry was heard all over Lahore, but it seems like the government is paying no heed and completely ignoring the situation. It is not unusual for a government to prioritize economic benefits over the safety of the people. Many economies across the globe rely on traditional methods of industrial processes for financial gains. The people are too poor to tackle the specific polluters in courts, as noted by Ikram Ahmed, a shopkeeper who said, “We are poor people, can’t even afford a doctor’s charges”. He further explained that “We can only plead with them to control the pollution. I am not a literate person, but I have read that Lahore has the worst air quality and then comes India’s Delhi. If it continues like this, we will die.”
Saeed alluded to an earlier period where he could take a walk in Lahore with his family, but given the present-day Lahore, he said, “Before, I used to come [for a walk] with my children, but now I don’t bring them out with me.”
To resolve this issue, Saeed said, “There are factories and small industries operating here, either shift them somewhere else, give them compensation or provide them with modern technology so that we can get rid of this smog”. This can work since some nations implemented similar plans of moving industrial areas to the outskirts of cities.
Pictures posted by news agencies show stagnant clouds of smog which reduced visibility and affected any free movement of fresh air. Reports on pollution in the country noted that air pollution increased in the past years as more activities related to fossil burning are being conducted. The surging of pollution levels was caused by “a mixture of low-grade diesel fumes, smoke from seasonal crop burn off, and colder winter temperatures”, these factors combine to form the smog clouds in Lahore.