Officials have warned Lahore of pollution that has emerged to a larger extent as a thick blanket of smog has enveloped the city that can be of high risky for the residents and can develop respiratory diseases and eye-related issues.
Doctors are urging citizens to stay at home as the pollution can be highly harmful to their health. The air quality in Lahore deteriorated to hazardous levels, putting an additional burden on the fragile healthcare system amid a surge in coronavirus deaths and new infections. The Air Quality Index at one point rose to 750 in the city’s poorer areas, about 12 times the recommended level.
Switzerland-based air quality information platform IQAir declared Lahore the second most polluted city, after New Delhi, India’s capital. According to them, smog is highly active in the winter season especially, as farmers burn off stubble in the fields. Winds worsen the pollution by further spreading smog across the region
Sajid Bashir, a spokesman for Environmental Protection Department said, “The air quality level was hazardous today,” he added that authorities took steps to keep smoke emitting vehicles off the roads and shut brick kilns across the province of Punjab.
Lahore became a pollution-free city when the government-imposed lockdown in March but after the lifting of lockdown in May, it again reached the same condition as it was before after the resumption of activities of industries and normal businesses. The city was once called the city of gardens but now it is the second most polluted city in the world.
“Coughing, throat infection and irritation in the eyes are common,” said Anza Farid, an environmental expert, warning that the situation could worsen in the coming weeks as more people burn garbage in the cities and farmers burn off the stubble in their fields.
Dr. Talha Ayub urged people to wear face masks for protection, both from pollution and the coronavirus. “People should try to stay at home if they can,” he appealed.