Lahore remained covered with smog yesterday as the provincial capital recorded the worst air quality in the world on Monday with a particulate matter (PM 2.5) rating of 372.
As has been the case in recent years, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Environmental Protection Department (EPD) have failed this year as well to take action against those causing air pollution through crop burning, brick kilns, and vehicular emissions.
Despite the enforcement of section 144 against several pollution-causing activities in Lahore, a number of brick kilns on the outskirts of the city are operating at night. They are using sub-standard fuel and materials such as rubber tires, plastic waste, and other materials that are adding to air pollution.
Contrary to tall claims, EPA and EPD have not used safe city cameras to identify and seize smoke-emitting vehicles either.
Unfortunately, instead of doing their due work in an apt way, District Environment Officer (DEO) Lahore Ali Ejaz has held India responsible for causing smog in Lahore. DEO Lahore said that massive crop burning taking place on the other side of the border is causing the air quality in the city to deteriorate.
However, the data doesn’t support DEO Lahore’s claim. While Lahore topped the list of the top 10 cities with the worst air quality in the world yesterday, the three Indian cities on the list had a much lower PM2.5 rating than Lahore.
Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata were ranked fourth, fifth, and tenth yesterday with a PM2.5 rating of 170, 165, and 156 respectively. The PM2.5 ratings of these Indian cities are nothing when compared with Lahore’s rating of 372.
Keep in mind that Secretary EPD Mubashar Hussain and DG EPA Ambreen Sajid have not endorsed DEO Lahore’s statement but they have not denounced it either.
Lahore’s PM2.5 rating was way above any acceptable benchmark yesterday. It was 322 points above the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommended rating of 50. Whereas the concentration of PM2.5 particles in the provincial capital was 32.2 times higher than WHO’s acceptable mark.
The smog yesterday remained an impediment to the residents of Lahore as thousands felt irritation in their eyes and throat in addition to difficulty breathing and coughing.