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Lahore’s Air Remains Hazardous, Citizens Lament Govt Inaction

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Citizens have lamented government’s inaction in face of the deteriorating air quality in Lahore and have called for strong, urgent measures to deal with the menace of smog as the air quality in Lahore remained at dangerously high levels with the air registering as ‘hazardous’ in the Air Quality Index (AQI).

Lahore is currently the second most polluted city in the world after Indian capital New Delhi, with the city’s AQI being more than 400 on Wednesday.

According to Air Visual, an international air pollution monitoring body, a ‘hazardous’ level of air poses a serious risk of respiratory effects to the general public, and people are strongly advised to stay indoors.

LahoreAir, a community-driven air quality reporter issued a health advisory through its Twitter account, asking people to limit outdoor activities, wear a dust mask and use air purifier indoors.

Academic Osama Siddiqui took to Twitter to lament how government officials were paying no heed to the deteriorating air quality in Lahore while the city was suffocating.

Climate activist Ayesha Raja shared that the air quality near Beaconhouse School Liberty Campus was 668, adding that a protocol needed to be evolved to close schools when the air quality reached such levels. She further added that the Meteorological Department needed to be consulted so that it could predict weather patterns that may lead to such toxic air.

Another activist shared pictures of what he claimed was smoke from burning dry leaves and trash near Walton Road, with the pictures showing an AQI of 556.

A resident shared a video of the smog at Main Boulevard, lamenting the fact that children of Lahore would have to grow up in this environment. She added that bold, urgent changes needed to be taken to resolve the matter.

Another user posted a picture of Lahore’s AQI ranking, with the ten areas listed all registering more than 400 on the AQI. He made a comparison with Chernobyl, the Soviet nuclear reactor that blew up in 1986.

People also opined that awareness campaigns should be carried out and that people needed to be educated about the environment and their role in protecting it.

People also called for action to be taken against smoke-emitting vehicles. One user shared a video of an old car emitting smoke, and stated that there needed to be strict requirements on emission standards of vehicles, adding that use of public transport should be encouraged and a comprehensive electric vehicle policy should be drawn up.

Last week, Lahore had become the most polluted city in the world, registering an AQI of 500. So bad was the smog that there were even reports of people’s houses filling up with smoke. Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar had ordered that schools be shut and had said that the administration had been tasked to escalate measures against factors contributing to smog.

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