When Breath Becomes Death

(Harris Amjad, Lahore)

Pakistan’s pollution has caused serious trouble in the form of smog. Recently, major cities like Lahore and Islamabad has been attacked by smog. According to some of the environmentalists the level of AQI recorded is around 600 which is extremely hazardous for citizens of Pakistan. All the outdoor activities must be avoided according to the experts.

Causes of Smog in Pakistan
However, avoiding every year is not the solution of the problem. These major cities are making their lives miserable themselves. One of the foremost reason of this smog is the excessive use of personal vehicles in major cities especially Lahore. The quality of fuel used in these vehicles has exacerbated the situation. These vehicles are releasing harmful gases that are adding to the effect of smog in notable amount. These low quality fuels contain the oxides of carbon, hence when fuel is burnt in car hazardous oxides of carbon and nitrogen is released in the air as a result of which air is significantly polluted. Moreover, there are certainly other factors as well that contribute to the smog.

Industrial waste is another reason why the air we breathing is causing deaths. There is no check in Pakistan, hence industrial waste is dumped nearby residential areas. Laws do exist but, awareness does not exist. Most of the industries are releasing the harmful gases in large quantities which get accumulated in the air and cause smog. These industries use the non-renewable raw materials like coal as source of energy hence these sources are seriously polluting the air. Major industries include steel mills and some of the extractive industries are serious threat to climate change occurring in Pakistan. Burning of the waste products is no wise move.

Recently, it has become trend to burn the municipal and industrial waste. Not only is this but, agricultural industry equally culprit for this scenario since they are also involved in burning of the crops. Nowadays, farmers and industrialist find it an easy alternative to burn the crop or industrial waste in order to get rid of them. For farmers it is cheap solution to field so that it can be prepared for another time. For industrialist, what can be easier than simply collect the waste and place it on fire? However, neglecting the environment has caused them serious trouble now.

What is actually Smog
Photochemical smog is when sunlight reacts with the oxides of nitrogen. In the cold weather the warm air above does not allow the cooler air to escape which in turn cause visible smog in Pakistan. It is the mixture of smoke and fog. In other words it is ground level ozone. Ozone high up in the atmosphere prevent the ultraviolet rays of the sun from entering the environment below and act as blessing, but on the contrary it is life threating if it existed at low level. Question is where are the laws and policies to protect the environment?

Laws and Policies to Protect Environment
Both the national and provincial level laws exist to protect the environment but, very little effort is done in order to ensure that those laws are implemented. The machinery and technology required to monitor the environment is lacking in Pakistan. Hence, without them it is quite impossible to protect the environment. Least, the government can do is to keep a check on all those activities that are causing harm to environment like burning of crops and industrial waste, low quality fuel and many more. Certainly, this smog is serious threat to life.

Impacts of Smog
Smog can cause from minor pains to deadly pulmonary diseases. It can cause as serious as lungs cancer. Smog can cause serious irritation in eyes. Due to smog, there can lot of coughing which in turn can cause serious trouble to the chest. In fact it is quite difficult to prevent oneself from the harmful impacts of the smog. Adding to it, smog can be a serious threat to the asthma patients. Not only this, but it can cause premature deaths. Indeed this smog is polluting the air to that extend that human lives are endangered. According to the stats the smog kills more people in Pakistan militancy.

However, animals and other species are also disturbed due to the smog. Their habitats and lifecycle is fitful. The entire life cycle is disturbed due to extreme air pollution.

How to Control Smog
This is not the fight of the specific person but, every ones contribution can only save Pakistan from this serious problem. This is consecutive fifth winters which is blurred by smog. Everyone at their individual level should try not hurting the environment. Prefer to use public transport when traveling alone. Use personal cars when entire family has to go somewhere. Industries should lookout for another ways to dump the waste. Always easy solution is not the right solution. Think of the consequences the coming generations have to face due to the excessive burning. Pakistani farmers should be made aware of the fact, if they didn’t acted smartly then consequences will not limit to smog only but, much worse. Hence everyone’s contribution along with the government efforts, this situation could be solved.

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