Air pollution is becoming a major problem in Pakistan and neighbouring countries. The regular burning of crop residues by farmers has contributed to the deteriorating air quality. Lahore is more affected by the smoke from residue because of its proximity to the Indian border and local agricultural lands.
The smog situation in Lahore is continuously worsening. According to the data obtained from the air quality monitoring devices, the air quality index of Lahore reached 580 several times this month. The Smog Commission in Lahore suggested that air pollution cannot be controlled or reduced by focusing on Lahore alone. It is imperative that the Punjab Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) set up 30 air quality testing stations across the province to assess the situation and access information. However, at present, there is only data available from two stations on the EPA Punjab website.
To reduce air pollution, ordinary citizens must also undertake precautionary measures in line with the information being provided to them. Prime Minister Imran Khan said that controlling air pollution is the government’s top priority. However, it is important to ensure that the issued policies are being implemented as well. The government must set up stations across the country to check air pollution and strictly monitor the use of substandard fuels, smoke vehicles, brick kilns, etc. on an emergency basis. These measures should stay in place throughout the year. Pakistan is regularly ranked number one in terms of pollution; however, little progress has been made to alleviate the situation. Besides raising concerns at international organisations, a media campaign should be launched to inform people of the dangers of air pollution and encourage people to act responsibly to alleviate pollution.
Saddam, Babar Solangi