Air pollution reaches alarming levels in city

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Staff Reporter

Air pollution in the city has reached to alarming levels, according to environmentalists.
Environmental Protection Department Director Misbah-ul-Haq Lodhi said the Air Quality Index (AQI) is based on concentrations of five air pollutants including ground-level ozone, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide and particulate matter.
He said that AQI values lower than 50 were considered good and when they exceed 100, they are considered to be unhealthy and big concerns come around 150-200.
Anything crossing the reading at 300 was deemed hazardous, he added.
To a question, Lodhi said that Lahore, Pakistan’s second-largest city was choking due to smog. He said that the sources of smog in the city mainly included brick-kilns smoke, steel mills, burning of crop residues and garbage, growing numbers of vehicles on the road and large-scale cutting of trees due to developmental projects.
Noted physian Dr Tehseen Riaz said that most of the patients in the city of 11 million population were complaining of headach, burning eyes and sour throats.
According to Global Air Quality Index data, air pollution levels in Lahore this winter have increased manifold the legal limit. He said that current reading of air quality was full of dust and pollutants that could cause health issues including asthma, lung damage, bronchial infections and heart problems.
In November 2018, the Lahore High Court had ordered the Punjab provincial government to implement recommendations of the smog commission, set up by the court in 2017 to look at the drivers of smog and find ways to reduce them.
Sources in the Punjab Forest Department said that following the LHC directions, the government was planting trees across the country, adding that environmental awareness among students and general public in the country was also being carried out.

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