LAHORE: A thick layer of smog continued to blanket Punjab’s plains on Wednesday morning despite a late rainfall that was expected to wash smog away.
Various sections of motorway were closed owing to poor visibility caused by dense smog. However, Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) has predicted more rains today in Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Faisalabad, Lahore, Gujranwala, FATA, Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir.
According to environmentalists, rains in Punjab plains will likely to reduce the intensity of smog, bringing respite to people reeling under such weather conditions.
Meanwhile, Motorway (M4) from Faisalabad to Gojra has been opened for traffic after the visibility improved following the rainfall.
Earlier this week, smog in Lahore had crossed all the international benchmarks as the level of PM 2.5 – which is termed the most dangerous pollutant in the air across the world – remained between 450ug/m3 and 500ug/m3 against the notified standards of 35ug/m3 per day.
As per World Health Organization standards, the daily average level of PM 2.5 should not be more than 10ug/m3 and aggregated annual mean 25ug/m3 in a day whereas as per a gazette notification of the Punjab government, the daily limit of PM2.5 is 15ug/m3 and aggregated annual mean 35ug/m3 per day.
The provincial government has imposed ‘Section 144’ in the province till December 16 to bar farmers from burning leftover crops waste, which believed to be one of the prime contributors to smog.
As winter begins, the areas of northern Punjab come under a thick layer of fog affecting the daily life and vehicular traffic. Motorways blocked and flights delayed or cancelled due to poor visibility.
The thick hazy layer understood to be winter’s fog is actually noxious smog carrying serious health hazards, experts say.
Smog is air pollution that reduces visibility. The term “smog” was first used in the early 1900s to describe a mix of smoke and fog. Smog is created by increasing vehicular and industrial emissions and burning of coal and the remains of agriculture crops. Smog has been common in industrial areas and remains a familiar sight in cities today.