Smog Not Only Disturbs Environment, Can Be Deadly For Health By Ali Jabber

Smog not only disturbs environment, can be deadly for health                                                                   By Ali Jabber

ISLAMABAD, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 13th Jan, 2019 ) :Smog-an outcome of industrialization and weather condition not only disturbs daily routine, but can be hazardous for health of people some times leading to deadly diseases.

For instance, it aggravates the condition of patients of asthma, heart and lungs and some times even be lethal.

According to the health experts pollution not only affects the overall health of people but has severe impact on heart and lungs so citizens especially having problems of allergy and asthma as well as heart ailments should use pre-cautionary measures during their daily life especially by using healthy food like "Yakhni (soup)" and mask when they are out side of the houses.

"A few deaths are reported every year in Pakistan due to air pollution namely Smog especially in the areas of central Punjab," said Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) spokesperson, Dr Khawaja Waseem Abbas.

The overwhelming smog phenomenon has gripped the country's major industrial and overpopulated cities in its fifth season prevailing in the country including Lahore and its adjoining cities beside others. The same problem is now developing in the Federal capital due to Steel Mills and other reasons like illegal crushing on Margalla Hills, vehicular emissions and development work in hundreds of large and small housing societies being developed in various parts of the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad.

It is badly affecting the daily routine in these cities not only reducing the day merely to four to five hours also disturbing the transportation due to the limited visibility especially in the early morning and late night hours.

Energy and Air Pollution Analyst Green Peace, Lauri Myllyvytra at a seminar organized by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) here said, "Air pollution sources in Pakistani cities particularly Lahore and others are mainly industrial emissions, resuspended (to keep soil particles suspended back into air) soil, automobile sources and crop residual burning whereas the discharge level is the same in Karachi as well." "Particulate matter (PM2.5) is the pollutant that gives long term evidence for chronic respiratory diseases whereas sulphur dioxides (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), ozone (O3) are also harmful pollutants that need vigilance," said the World Health Organization (WHO) Report on Health Aspects of Air Pollution with Particulate Matter, Ozone and Nitrogen Dioxide.

Director General Pakistan Environment Protection Agency (Pak-EPA), Farzana Altaf Shah told APP that the federal capital's air quality is being monitored regularly to control industrial emissions with an online emissions monitoring system which helps to meticulously observe all sectors of the city.

The hospital lacking waste burning incinerators were fined and action was taken against them as per law whereas their emissions and temperatures were monitored to avoid hazardous gas releases, she added.

To a question, she said the steel re-rolling mills working in the industrial zone of the federal capital were cooperating with Pak-EPA to release controlled emissions whereas there was no such plan to shift any of the industry from the sector rather strict monitoring and vigilance of their setups was made by the agency.

The air quality monitors installed have examined that pollutant ratio reaches at the maximum level during the evening peak hours where vehicular emissions are produced in abundance, she added.

"The ideal air quality monitored in the federal capital came into notice of Pak-EPA during the month of Ramadan this year as vehicular traffic reduced to a significant level as most of the offices, schools and universities were closed due to vacations.

The point to ponder here is that the unshackled increase in the traffic of the city has ultimately deteriorated the ambient quality of one of the greenest cities of the country. The mushrooming growth of housing societies in its vicinity is yet another factor that has transformed the terrain of city during construction and development of the societies, whereas brick kiln cluster in the suburbs of the federal capital is also a contributing source," she maintained.

The ambience of the capital despite the fact that it has least pollution levels as compared to Lahore and Karachi cities as PM2.5 level in the air quality reports of 24 hours reveal permissible quantity of the pollutants, demands amicable smog mitigating measures as it's the 5th season being embraced by the country.

Advisor to Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam said that Smog was one of the critical issues being faced by the country in the spectrum of climate change where all out efforts were underway to control harmful emissions from debris, crop residual burning, brick kilns and smoke producing vehicles.

The Advisor said that "A billion trees programme namely "Clean and Green Pakistan" has already been launched on the directive of the Prime Minister across the country and the government would make sure maximum plantation with care till their growth to a survival level beside other measures to control this phenomenon on priority basis."

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