ISLAMABAD: Smog engulfed Lahore’s air pollution has reached hazardous levels with Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) reading recorded at over 500 for the second day running in Lahore on Monday.
The Punjab government’s Environment Protection Department (EPD) is yet to public the air quality readings which are critical to gauge the extent of air pollution in Lahore’s air.
Environment lawyer and activist Ahmed Rafay Alam while speaking to Daily The Patriot revealed the shocking extent of air pollution in Lahore. According to Alam, he has installed air pollution regarding meter at his home and the readings from the meter have left him shocked.
The Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) reading in Lahore has been recorded in access of 500. Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) is an air pollutant that is a concern for people’s health when levels in air are high. PM2.5 are tiny particles in the air that reduce visibility and cause the air to appear hazy when levels are elevated.
Particles in the PM2.5 size range are able to travel deeply into the respiratory tract, reaching the lungs. Exposure to fine particles can cause short-term health effects such as eye, nose, throat and lung irritation, coughing, sneezing, runny nose and shortness of breath. Exposure to fine particles can also affect lung function and worsen medical conditions such as asthma and heart disease. Scientific studies have linked increases in daily PM2.5 exposure with increased respiratory and cardiovascular hospital admissions, emergency department visits and deaths.
Due to the extremely high level of air pollution in Lahore, children and older people are especially at risk. In fact a number of schools in Lahore have restricted outdoor activities for kids and have advised the parents to keep children at home if they feel unwell due to high pollution.
Shanghai American School, China’s guidelines say that if air quality levels (PM 2.5) exceed 300 all school related personnel (except those necessary to maintain campus security) and students will be kept indoors. According to an Islamabad based environment expert, who has previously worked in China, schools in China are usually closed when air pollution reaches high level.
Considering that in Lahore a large number of students (especially young kids) travel via motorcycles and are completely exposed to air pollution. Lahore’s hazardous PM 2.5 can cause serious health problems for kids (something which is already being witnessed). If the smog situation doesn’t improve in the coming days, the city authorities may have to temporarily close down schools for the sake of students’ health.
The latest study published in The Lancet has found In 2015, over half a million people in India died prematurely due to the presence of pollutants PM2.5 in the air, the figures make the dangers of high level of PM2.5 all the more obvious.