Smoke and smog
As Lahore and other towns in the Punjab have continued to battle smog, the state appears more or less indifferent to the situation – which includes a dramatic increase in respiratory illnesses due to extremely poor air quality, which in Lahore has repeatedly surpassed the world’s cities in terms of the worst air quality available to its residents. The result of the poor gas supply and continuous pollution caused by vehicles emitting toxic fumes without being checked as well as emissions from brickyards and factories mean that our cities continue to be more and more polluted and may well stay. in a stable position at the top of the list of the most polluted cities in the world. The poor of course suffer worse, as they do in every disaster, without access to air purifiers that the rich can buy or even to proper shelter that can protect them to some extent from smog.
In this situation, as the court hears a case against the smog in Lahore and the impact on people, including a case brought by three teenage girls two years ago, the government’s attitude is simply unacceptable. What can be done when the Provincial Disaster Management Authority declares that the increase in barbecued and grilled foods in winter is the cause of the smog that has left people with severe infections and allergies? Unless the government takes a much more serious approach to the whole problem, the smog will continue and people will suffer like they have for years. Suggested policies have not been put in place and there is no real indication that efforts have been made to stop stubble burning in fields or to ensure brick kilns are zigzagged. Even in this area, experts argue over whether brick kilns built in this way really reduce the release of fumes that poison the air. But there is one reality that almost all citizens of Lahore will agree on. We breathe poison. People already depend on their own resources for drinking water and gas, buying bottled water if they can afford it, using filtered water if they can, and buying gas bottles. when possible. Now, they also have to buy air purifiers if they are among the richest in town and find ways to protect themselves from toxins in the air.