Increased Smog Leaves Thousands Ill in Pakistan

( – Authorities in Lahore, Pakistan’s cultural capital, said Thursday that they would be closing schools, parks, and marketplaces, for a four-day period because of the toxic air that has made thousands of residents sick.

The country’s second-biggest city has consistently been named one of the most polluted in the world. Wearing face masks and staying inside was recommended by doctors. Locals reported an increase in coughing and respiratory issues.

A report shows that Salman Kazmi, a physician at Lahore’s main Mayo Hospital, where countless people were treated for respiratory-related diseases, eye infections, and skin diseases this week, said that wearing marks and staying at home were the simplest solutions to avoid being rushed to hospitals.

PM 2.5, or fine particulate matter, reached dangerously high levels on Thursday, hovering about 450.

Experts attribute most of the pollution to the incineration of crop scraps before the sowing of winter wheat. The practice continues despite attempts to urge farmers to adopt alternate techniques and threats of disciplinary action for disobeying burning regulations.

According to SAFAR, an Indian government organization that monitors air quality, 30–40% of the pollution in Delhi during October–November may be attributed to the smoke produced by the clearing procedure.
Residents are encouraged to always wear face masks outside their homes from October to February, the peak months for smog when cooler air retains pollutants.

Mughal-era Lahore (16th to 19th centuries) was famous as the “City of Gardens” due to the widespread use of gardens across the city. However, expanding cities and ever-increasing populations have resulted in a severe lack of lush greenery.

According to a report, IQAir uses the PM2.5 concentration as a proxy for overall air quality because of the damage it may do to a person’s lungs. Its yearly survey is often used as a reference by academics and government agencies.

Lahore was the highest polluted city in the world in 2022, with PM2.5 levels of 97.4 micrograms per cubic meter, up from 86.5 in 2021.

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