Smog may go with current wet spell, but only after infecting thousands

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After a long dry spell, the current smoggy conditions may subside with the ongoing wet spell, which is likely to continue till Friday, and are expected to be eliminated completely with two other rainy spells during the current month, though thousands of people have already contracted lungs and respiratory-system related diseases due to the environmental pollution in the province.

All the major government and private hospitals of the city faced huge burden of patients with lung and throat related diseases lately, but overall scenario remained under control during the November-January period, as compared to the last years, due to aggressive anti-smog campaign, initiated by the Environment Protection Department and other institutions on the orders of the Lahore High Court.

The Air Quality Index in the provincial capital could not cross 455 value and the AQI of the city was recorded 333 on Wednesday, and 298 on Thursday after a drizzle, which had reached 455 (PM2.5) on December 30, 2022, as per the details given by the control room, established in the Environment Protection Department.

The Services Institute of Medical Sciences, Sir Gangaram Hospital, Mayo Hospital, Mian Munshi Hospital, Fatima Memorial Hospital, Ittefaq Hospital, Shalamar Hospital and other government and private hospitals of the city received hundreds of patients with respiratory and lung diseases during this season, November to January, mostly were children and elderly people, sources told.

Local health experts said that the size of particles was directly linked to their potential for causing health problems. Small particles less than 10 micrometers in diameter pose the greatest problems, because they can go deep into lungs and some may even get into bloodstream.

“Exposure to such particles can affect both lungs and heart,” said Dr Adnan-ul-Qamar, Medical Superintendent Mian Munshi Hospital, while talking to media.

He said numerous scientific studies had linked particle pollution exposure to a variety of problems, including premature death in people with heart or lung disease, nonfatal heart attacks, irregular heartbeat, aggravated asthma, decreased lungs function, increased respiratory symptoms, such as irritation of the airways, coughing or difficulty in breathing.