Dry cold spell aggravates smog

Health experts advise citizens to take precautions

Afzal Talib January 21, 2024


The entire Punjab is in the grip of a prolonged wave severe cold weather and fog, causing widespread problems for the residents of the province.

The dense fog coupled with lack of rain for several weeks has also aggravated the smog problem.

The lowest temperature during the past 24 hours was recorded at eight degrees Celsius.

In addition to low visibility, cold, flu and other diseases are spreading at an uncontrollable pace due to the dry winter season.

Health experts have advised the citizens to take precautions and avoid venturing outdoors during the fog and dry weather. Lahore continues to exceed 300 in the Air Quality Index and is among the three most polluted cities in the world.

Shivering dry cold weather and dense fog reign in the city, with low visibility experienced the whole day.

The maximum temperature in the city was recorded at 10 degrees, with the humidity ratio in the air at 72 per cent and wind speed of just 3km per hour.

The low visibility caused by the fog forced the authorities to shut several motorways at different places. The AQI recorded at Shimla Pahari was 310, DHA Phase-8 320, Town Hall 275 and Mehmood Buti 410.

According to the Meteorological Department, apart from Punjab, the weather is likely to remain cold and dry in most of the districts of Balochistan, while it will be very cold in the northern districts.

The weather will remain cold and dry in most districts of Sindh.

Fog and smog are expected in Jacobabad, Hyderabad, Mohenjodaro, Sukkur, Larkana, Dadu, Ghotki, Khairpur, Kashmore and Padeidan.

It is likely to remain partly cloudy in Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan.

Read Smog termed public health emergency

The lowest temperature of -12 degrees was recorded in Skardu minus nine in Kalam, Gilgit, Astor minus six, Kalat and Gopis minus four, and Hunza, Dir and Rawalakot minus three degrees.

According to the Meteorological Department, there is no chance of rain in the whole of Punjab during the next three days.

Earlier this week, a cold wave in Punjab created an emergency situation in hospitals with surge in new pneumonia cases reported across the province.

The situation is most serious in Lahore where more than 50 percept of the cases of the disease have been confirmed.

The hospital outpatient departments also received a large number of patients complaining of ailment caused by cold weather like fever, cough, flu and chest infection.

A large number of children were among the pneumonia patients.

The extreme cold weather and smog in Lahore and other areas is also posing a high risk to the health of elderly people.

Pneumonia began spreading in the city around three weeks ago.

The provincial government also extended the winter vacations for the young children to protect them from the weather condition.

Health officials were instructed to compile data related to the disease in the province.

The health department started collecting the data but has not shared it publicly.

Exposure to fog may cause health issues and disrupt flights, railway and highway operations during the week in most parts of Punjab. The department advised travellers to remain cautious amidst the fog.

The dense fog blanketed the Islamabad-Lahore M2, Lahore-Abdul Hakim M3, Faisalabad-Multan M4, Multan-Sukkur M5 and Sialkot-Lahore M11 motorways on Tuesday, prompting the authorities to take precautionary measures to ensure safety.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 21th, 2024.


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