In the first week of November 2019, several cities in South Asia struggled with pollution and toxic fog, according to the IQ Air Visual quality classification report. In general, toxic fog is caused by smoke from brick kilns and factories, stubble burned by farmers, vehicle exhaust pipes and burning debris.
On November 1, Delhi in India became the most polluted city in the world with a rate of 529 of the Air Quality Index (AQI). Lahore, Pakistan's second city, was not far behind with a rate of 300. News about pollution and the toxic fog of Lahore reached the news and social media websites. #LahoreSmog (Lahore's toxic fog) was a trend on Pakistani Twitter for a week.
– Dawar Butt (@thelahorewala) November 1, 2019
I drive towards the smoke chamber that is the center of Lahore. Toxic fog of Lahore.
actually feel like at this point I'll be dead in a few years (Allah na karay) considering how terrible the air is in lahore. living in this city is literally impossible. #SaansLenayDo
– manal (@ccatastrophicc) October 29, 2019
Actually I feel that at this rate, I will have died within a few years (God forbid) considering how terrible the air is in Lahore. Living in this city is literally impossible. Let us breathe.
The pollution situation is a frequent topic of the last decade and poses serious threats to the health of the population. It has become so serious that it has been called the brown cloud of the Indian Ocean, or Asian brown cloud, which describes the layer of air pollution that frequently covers parts of South Asia, especially in the North Indian Ocean , India and Pakistan.
Air quality scale
The Air Quality Index ranges from 0 to 500, where 0 is the minimum measure of air pollution and 500 is the maximum level. Any reading between 0 and 50 indicates good air quality, and above 300 is considered dangerous.
The Pakistani Government uses the measure of the Department of Metereology and SPARCO.
Amnesty International, along with other international actors, has declared a health emergency in the Punjab province of Pakistan:
Prolonged or intense exposure to polluted air can cause serious health problems – such as asthma, lung damage, bronchitis and heart problems – and reduce life expectancy, jeopardizing people's rights to life and health. , as well as your right to a healthy environment.
In TEDxLahore, Abid Omar analyzes Lahore's air pollution, and reveals that poor air quality is a problem that lasts almost all year.
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JP-jedfj4Pc (/ embed)
Denial and clamor in social media
Studies show that the lower and lower middle classes take the worst part of the dangerous impacts of toxic fog as they work in the field and outdoors. They also carry the most severe, economic and health consequences.
However, Malik Amin Aslam, the environmental advisor to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, rejected the readings of the air quality scale of international supervisors. “The Lahore air quality index was much better than that of New Delhi.”
Zartaj Gul, Minister of Climate Change of Pakistan, mentioned that the Azadi march led by Pakistani politician Maulana Fazlur Rehman was the main source of toxic fog in Lahore and has denied the indexes of international organizations.
“The influx of cars and vehicles that entered the city is the main reason for pollution in Lahore,” he said in an interview with the media.
In social networks, users criticized politicians and the State, and accused them of minimizing the impact of environmental degradation and climate emergencies.
Environmental depts in Pakistan hiding air quality data to make public believe smog isn’t real
Trump had ‘climate’ scrubbed from US govt websites to pretend we are not responsible for crisis
– Tabby ❤️✊️?✨?♂️????? (@ TabbySpence8) November 2, 2019
We routinely record the data of the Department of Environmental Protection and contrast it with the Pakistan Air Quality initiative to reach conclusions, visualizations, etc.
It seems that the December 2018 air quality reports, specifically, were deliberately erased. These are earlier tely.
The environmental departments in Pakistan (are) hiding air quality data to make the public believe that toxic fog is not real.
Trump has overturned the ‘weather’ of US government websites to show that we are not responsible for the crisis.
The public pays attention and will not be fooled with false news.
Social media activists, members of civil society and environmentalists have launched a campaign against what they see as negligence of the Punjab Government with the #SaansLenayDo (Let Us Breathe) campaign. Some are asking companies to cease their operations.
The industrial units on Sheikhupura Gujranwala road continue to function 24/7
Godown / Industrial Unit # 1
Name of owner: Malik Ahsan
Location: https://t.co/NiyNfEvutM#Gujranwala #smog #SaansLenayDo @rafay_alam @thelahorewala @ChAmirZkhan @DCGRW @EPD_Punjab pic.twitter.com/wteWQ1lODK
– Usman Asghar Wahla (@UsmanAWahla) October 30, 2019
Industrial units on the Sheikhupura Gujranwala road continue to operate 24 hours a day.
Godown / Industrial Unit # 1
Owner's name: Malik Ahsan
Location: Gujranwala, toxic fog
Who has a vested interest? People / kids with asthma, bronchitis, vulnerable lungs? The elderly? People who will see healthcare costs soar? This is absolutely disgraceful behavior. No place for this in a representative democracy. #Lahore #Smog #LahoreSmog #AirQuality #SaansLenayDo https://t.co/IiRbgde086
– Waqqas Mir (@wordoflaw) November 1, 2019
The ministry teams are doing their job. The reasons for smuggling have been largely overcome.
Our teams are working diligently to mitigate the sources and impact of pollution. Please do not attend to unverified sources that are trying to agitate your own interests.
Who has interests? People / children with asthma, bronchitis, vulnerable lungs? The elders? People who will see their health care costs increase? It is an absolutely unfortunate behavior. This does not take place in a representative democracy. Lahore, toxic fog, let us breathe.
These monitors set up by @PSCAsafecities in Lhr should counter false info being peddled by some ministers abt the #LahoreSmog We're breathing #ToxicAir in #Lahore #Faisalabad #Islamabad #Karachi & other cities. Demand the govt. to declare this a public emergency! #SaansLenayDo https://t.co/z2zG4tgVyh
– Marwah Maqbool Malik (@MarwahMaqbool) October 30, 2019
Air quality index updates from the Punjab Safe Cities Authority and Lahore toxic fog advice in action today. As seen in the image, it seems that they have launched tear gas in Lahore en masse. Let us breathe.
These monitors installed by the Safe Cities Authority of Punjab should counteract the false information that some ministers spread about the toxic fog of Lahore. We are breathing toxic air in Lahore, Faisalabad Islamabad, Karachi and other cities. Requests to the Government to declare this as a public emergency!
Concern for air quality in Lahore had the effect of a snowball. Citizens of Karachi, Islamabad and Peshawar have begun to question the air quality in their cities and are also calling for action.
The visibility of air pollution depends on the composition of the particulate matter in the air at any given time.
Karachi's air quality – despite the resumption of our sea breeze – is still fairly atrocious, as these readings from various times today show. pic.twitter.com/QXSz4WOlMR
– Mahaul 021 (@ mahaul021) October 31, 2019
These are the Karachi air quality readings at 10:00 p.m. on Thursday (October 31, 2019.)
While air pollution in Lahore sometimes comes in the form of visible toxic fog, it is important to remember that toxic fog is only a symptom of air pollution, and not always a ‘presented’ symptom.
The visibility of air pollution depends on the composition of the particulate matter in the air at any time.
The air quality of Karachi – despite the resumption of our sea breeze – is still quite atrocious, as these readings of various times today show.
Many are tweeting and expressing concern about the serious situation, others are trying to find ways to mitigate the risks.
– Godfather IV (@godfatheriv) November 4, 2019
Since most Lahore pharmacies have run out of masks, you can order them from DarazPK. Just make sure it's an N95 mask.
– Hassaan Khan (@Khana_Hassaana) November 4, 2019
To the rescue of Lahore and Delhi.
The challenge of dealing with pollution in the big cities of South Asia will not be easy or fast, but we can learn from successful examples from other places, says Kulsum Ahmed.
How can we get out of this situation, in Third Pole.
A petition created by environmentalists, scientists and medical professionals is browsing the internet to demand that the Government take corrective actions.
There are well over a thousand signatures on the petition of medical professionals, scientists and researchers, started by our public health and smog subcommittee.
To sign: https://t.co/U7tQtN2ch7
– Climate Action Now! → Pakistan (@ClimateActionPk) November 1, 2019
Sign the petition.
Pakistan Public Health Emergency: facing toxic fog.
There are more than a thousand signatures in the request of medical professionals, scientists and researchers that our public health subcommittee has started.
Sign here: http://chng.it/TfG9x5N4
A group of children has filed a petition in the Supreme Court of Lahore on November 5, 2019 to demand the truth and pressure the Government to spread the severity of the situation.
Children filed a petition in the Lahore High Court asking the govt to tell the truth about the severity of air pollution in Lahore. The EPA and AG have been summoned for next Tuesday for a response. pic.twitter.com/h5UKxxe8t1
– Aysha Raja (@aysharalam) November 5, 2019
These children filed a petition in the Supreme Court of Lahore to ask the Government to tell the truth about the severity of air pollution in Lahore. The Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency and the prosecution have been summoned for next Tuesday for a response.
Many Pakistanis wonder when the Government of their country will realize the extent of air quality degradation in Pakistani megacities and will take action for a solution.