Since mid-October Pakistan and India have experienced thick smog. In Pakistan, the blinding combination of smoke and fog has caused traffic problems and respiratory illnesses among people, besides leading to power outages in the country’s most populous province.
The situation is particularly ‘alarming’ in south and central districts of Punjab – the province which had also been hit by smog almost the same time, last year.
In India, doctors declared a public health emergency last week when choking smog descended on New Delhi and elsewhere in northern India, prompting authorities to close schools, ban construction and bar trucks from entering the city.
A recent satellite image by National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) shows the extent of the problem.
On November 8, 2017, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured the image of haze and fog blanketing the South Asian region.
“The first image, a data map based on observations from the same sensor, depicts aerosol optical depth, a measure of how airborne particles affect the reflection and absorption of light by the atmosphere. Red-brown colours indicate skies thick with aerosol pollution,” says NASA.