LAHORE: Students from the Government College University (GCU) Lahore held an on-campus walk Friday to raise awareness in the society against smog, and proposed to the government to utilise the innovative and eco-friendly approach of growing sunflowers to naturally combat the unhealthy menace of air pollution.
GCU IIB Director Professor Dr Hamid Mukhtar led the walk from the university’s Sports Complex, which was followed by the formation of a human sunflower in the Oval Ground.
Talking to reporters, Professor Mukhtar said that smog was the biggest threat to their health and gave rise to diseases like eyes and respiratory infections. “The intensity of smog is measured by the particulate matter. Particulate matter consists of small particles or droplets suspended in the air that have a width of 2.5 micron or less. These air pollutants can enter the human body through the nostrils and mouth,” he explained.
He further said that multiple solutions of smog were available worldwide which included smog eating buildings, smog towers and chemical reduction of smog components. All these treatments were either too expensive for a third world country like Pakistan or the treatment created secondary problems and persistence in environment, he added.
“To solve this problem, students of Institute of Industrial Biotechnology (IIB), have proposed a better and eco-friendly remedy i.e. mass plantation of sunflowers. They studied the activity of the sunflower plant to solve environmental problems. It had been shown scientifically that sunflower plants could reduce the major components of smog and degrade them to harmless levels. So, planting sunflower can reduce the continuous persistence of smog,” he claimed.
GCU Vice Chancellor Professor Dr Hassan Amir Shah appreciated the idea proposed by the IIB students, saying that the institute had always played its role in providing solutions for various environmental issues. He said sunflowers was a neutral and eco-friendly solution of the problem. He said after the Hiroshima, Fukushima, and Chernobyl nuclear disasters, fields of sunflowers were planted across the affected landscapes to help absorb toxic metals and radiation from the soil.
The vice chancellor said the government was not solely responsibility for the task of combating pollution. “The scientists and the common people have a greater role to play as well. We must do research and promote plantation of trees and flowers in our surroundings to create a better future for the coming generations,” he concluded.