It is evident that impromptu, band-aid solutions are insufficient as Lahore persists in being engulfed in a dense layer of smog. The recent reorganization of duties by the Punjab government, which gave assistant commissioners the responsibility of keeping an eye on and discouraging stubble burning, is a necessary but inadequate response to a pervasive issue. Not only are the concerning air quality levels, with AQI readings regularly rising above safe limits, but they also serve as a sobering reminder of the health emergency that Lahore’s citizens are facing. After rain, there was a brief improvement in the quality of the air, but it was short-lived as the AQI readings spiked once more, putting the city in danger of a health and environmental emergency.The smoke from brick kilns, stubble burning, construction activities, and automobile and industrial emissions are all contributing factors to this complex crisis. Temperature inversion and other meteorological phenomena make matters worse when winter arrives.
Despite its good intentions, the government’s approach doesn’t seem to have a long-term plan. While the deployment of teams to monitor industrial units and the emphasis on punitive measures like fines and demolitions are important steps, they only address a portion of the complex issue. Although protective in the short term, the Lahore High Court’s recommendation for remote work and school closures ignores the root causes. A comprehensive strategy is required, combining the enforcement of stringent environmental regulations with industry-wide sustainable practices.In order to reduce vehicular pollution, this involves implementing cleaner technologies in brick kilns and industries, encouraging sustainable agriculture to prevent stubble burning, improving waste management, and enhancing public transportation. The lack of sufficient resources—the environment department in Lahore, for example, only has six inspectors—highlights the necessity of improved infrastructure and manpower in order to properly enforce regulations. It is important to educate and motivate the public to make decisions that protect the environment. Both the crisis’s symptoms and its underlying causes must be addressed. It is time for a response that is as enduring and widespread as the smog.