Curbing smog

The smog issue is particularly significant during the winter season because of the cold and dry conditions

October 23, 2022

With the winter season just around the corner, Punjab’s Secretary for Environment has stressed the need to undertake collective measures to eliminate smog. The smog issue is particularly significant during the winter season because of the cold and dry conditions. All the pollutants are concentrated in the lower levels of the atmosphere causing the smog to spread to different areas.

Prolonged exposure to smog can cause various health problems including asthma, lung damage, heart problems, stroke, etc. Earlier estimates revealed that nearly 128,000 Pakistanis die annually because of air pollution-related diseases. Despite projects such as the Billion Tree Tsunami project, most cities lack adequate forest cover to absorb carbon emissions. The high reliance on private vehicles that are seldom tested for smoke emissions, coupled with industrial pollution, brick-kilns burning coal and burning fossil fuels to keep homes warm during the winters, have accelerated the problem.

Preemptive measures such as urging industrialists not to support elements that are using carbon, rubber and other prohibited fuels and introducing technology to control industrial pollution can considerably lower smog levels. However, to drastically reduce air pollution, long-term and widespread measures need to be adopted such as encouraging citizens to switch to public transport. Improving public transport and introducing electric vehicles across the country must be a part of the plan. Earlier, the Punjab government also pressed brick-kiln owners to switch to zig-zag technology to overcome emissions and smog in winter. In the last few years, smog wreaked havoc across Punjab bringing all daily activities to a halt. Therefore, the relevant authorities should regularly engage with industrialists and kiln owners to ensure the implementation of policies. Other provincial governments should also take this as a sign to intensify efforts to tackle pollution to avoid smog and other harmful consequences.


Published in The Express Tribune, October 23rd, 2022.

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