KECH: Smog, a major health hazard, is a mixture of polluted air and water vapours in the atmosphere, also known as an atmospheric “choking layer”. Many areas in Punjab have been deprived of the charming dusk hours in November and December as layers of smog descend upon cities and plains, preventing sunshine from reaching the earth. This has been happening for the last three years. The smog is entering the country from India, with farmers there engaging in stubble-burning. The narrative coming from the government is that India is to be blamed for this atrocity; however, Indian farmers have been burning crops for quite a long time.
The pollution-filled air will leave immeasurable public health damage in its wake, largely affecting the lungs and hearts of citizens, with the elderly and small children being the most vulnerable. Air pollution in Pakistan causes 135,000 deaths every year. Smog is not a new issue and the government should have had a steady plan to tackle the situation by now. Shifting the blame on the Indian side does not result in the eradication of the problem at hand. The government needs to seek mechanisms that can help to ease the issue. It is important too to educate people about the situation and how they can protect themselves. But in actuality, prevention is better than cure. The Punjab government should follow its anti-smog policy in letter and in spirit as smog is everyone’s issue. Furthermore, the government should start initiating serious plans regarding climate change and pollution because it has become extremely important for us to tackle it. We should seek cooperation of regional countries in regard wherever possible. Pollution and climate change are problems that no one country can solve them. International and regional cooperation is necessary to sole these issues. These issues should be paid urgent attention.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 7th, 2019.