Pakistan

Heavy smog prompts flight cancellations, motorway closure in Punjab

Punjab

LAHORE: The most of Punjab plains were engulfed in dense smog on Saturday morning, as the citizens reeling under the weather conditions crippling the normal life.

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.

Two killed, 32 injured in accidents

At least two people were killed and as many as 32 were injured in separate road accidents due to low visibility after heavy smog enveloped various cities of Punjab province, ARY News learnt on Saturday.

According to rescue sources, 25 passengers sustained injuries when a Jhang-bound bus overturned on Lahore bypass. All the injured were shifted to District Headquarter Hospital for initial medical treatment.

In another smog-related accident, a man was killed and five others were injured when a truck collided with a bus on the motorway near Daska city.

Yet in another incident, a person was killed and another injured in a traffic accident due to low visibility on Chichawatni Road near Kamalia.

Flights cancellation 

Keeping in view the prevailing weather conditions, several domestic and international flights were cancelled in the province due to low visibility caused by dense smog.

As many as three international flights, en route to Faisalabad, were delayed and subsequently diverted to Lahore, besides a domestic flight from Karachi to Faisalabad.

Another flight from Multan to Jeddah was postponed due to presence of heavy smog and lower visibility around Multan airport.

The multiple sections of the M3 motorway have been closed for all kind of vehicular movement to avoid an untoward incident while the M2 has been closed for the heavy traffic.

The motorway police have advised the drivers to reduce speed and ensure switching on fog lights to avoid mishaps.

Power outages

Earlier, several power plants were tripped due to smog causing power crisis in the provinces of Punjab and Balochistan. The National Transmission and Distribution Company (NTDC) had stated in its statement that the plant were tripped due to smog.

The unprecedented severe smog posing serious challenge to the national transmission system and the Power Division and the authorities are closely monitoring the situation, the NTDC press release stated earlier.

Section 144

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 the smog problem in Punjab.

Punjab has been badly struck with such weather conditions in recent years in beginning days of winter in the region. The prevalent smog episode is similar to the one that struck the province last year, noted chief meteorologist Mohammad Riaz.

The smog is caused by a lack of rain and immense pollution. Smoke from vehicles, factories and burning of the remains of crops could one of the major factors behind the dense smog in the province, Riaz said.

Analysts are of the opinion that a spell of heavy rains or strong winds could clear the hazy conditions in the province.

Visibility in different Punjab cities:

Jhang 10 metres

Faisalabad 30 metres

Multan 50 metres

Sahiwal 200 metres

Lahore 300 metres

Khanpur, Nurpur Thal 500 metres

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