Lahore’s air is literally ‘breath-taking’: Smoke giving rise to respiratory diseases

Air pollution is responsible for causing around 4 million deaths every year.

Lahore is an ancient city with 11 million inhabitants, and has been suffering from the consequences of air pollution for a long time. On November the 15th, 2019, Pakistanis were shocked to learn that schools in Lahore would remain main closed due to the presence of “smog” in the city.

Smoke, Not Smog:

Smoke is visible vapor, gas, and fine particles given off by burning material. Smog particles are visible after smoke and fog combine. In this case, the fog was not developed properly and smog particles were not detected.

Punjab Chief Meteorologist said that the current situation should not be confused and that the visible curtain was, in fact, smoke.

Lahore Air Quality Analysis and


(FILES) In this file photo taken on January 24, 2019 a Pakistani barber shaves a customer alongside a road amid heavy fog and smog conditions in Lahore. – India dominated a list of the world’s most polluted cities in 2018, taking 22 of the top 30 spots, according to a Greenpeace report. Cities in China, Pakistan and Bangladesh were also placed in the top 30. (Photo by ARIF ALI / AFP)


Air pollution is responsible for causing around 4 million deaths every year. Lahore has been suffering from air pollution for a long time but came under the public eye early in 2017. The Air quality index (AQI) tells us how polluted a public area is. Above a certain level, public health is at risk. Lahore has tiptoed near the line many times.

~ Smoke May Become A Fifth Season:

While AQI values below 50 depict good quality air, Lahore mostly has an AQI from 145-156. With an AQI above 150, people are advised to wear masks when outdoors. Drastic measures are needed to be taken to prevent this situation. The effects could result in a fifth season and spread to other cities.

Factors Contributing To Smoke Increase:

There was a popular opinion at first that the smoke was coming in from India due to burning of crops. The main reason is car emissions and smoke from factories. Lahore has five monitoring machines that work properly. It needs many more for the millions of people living and the area it covers. The increase in vehicles has not only increased more traffic but smoke as well.

~ Solutions to Look Into:

Its time for long term measures instead of short term solutions.

  • The use of catalytic converters in cars, ban on diesel, and unleaded petrol can be suitable substitutes.
  • Public and self-awareness should be spread and focused on.
  • Due public concern and uproar, Prime Minister Imran Khan himself has announced plans to counter the situation.
  • They plan to import more friendly fuel and adopting the EU’s Euro-4 standards for vehicles.

Air pollution is not only affecting routine life, but it’s also causing respiratory diseases among citizens. Its effective especially on those living near industrial areas. Its time to step up and take measures to provide clean air for our future generations. We are all in this together!

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