The Living Planet Report 2018 is an in-depth analysis of the state of the natural world, twenty years after the flagship report was first issued. Through indicators such as the Living Planet Index (LPI), the Species Habitat Index, the IUCN Red List Index, and the Biodiversity Intactness Index the report paints a singular distressing picture: human activity is the main cause of the destruction of this beautiful planet. Pakistan is witnessing a steady rise in carbon emissions and this is leading to a serious environmental crisis. Let’s try to develop a better understanding of the phenomenon of smog in Pakistan.
What Is Smog?
Most people confuse smog with fog. Smog refers to the mixture of smoke and fog, hence the term “SM-OG”. Smog is extremely dangerous as it comprises of several toxic gases including nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, and carbon mono oxide. Smog is a hazardous result of burning large amounts of coal. So put in simple words, smog is fog with harmful soot and smoke content.
Why Does It Occur?
Air pollution is the greatest cause of smog. Smog mostly occurs as winter is near because cold winds are denser than hot air and this change in the air pressure bring soot and smoke particle down from the higher levels of the atmosphere. Harmful gasses are released into the atmosphere due to the burning of fossil fuels, this mixes with the atmosphere to form smog. During winter, the speed of winds is low and this facilitates smog to stagnate at a place.
Impact Of Smog
Smog impairs breathing and respiration, hence it can be fatal for people suffering from respiratory issues. It is not just harmful to humans, but also hazardous for fauna and flora. In the long run, smog is an essential cause of bronchitis, asthma problems, pneumonia, lung cancer, and several other fatal ailments. Smog is like a thick blanket that impairs one’s sight and also prevents Ultra Violet rays from reaching the earth, and thus reduces the production of vitamin D. Shortage of Vitamin D leads to cases of rickets. This causes communication and transportation lapses too. Smog in Pakistan is affecting the health condition of Pakistani and each year we hear that people are admitted to hospitals due to the respiratory problems caused by smog.
Regions Most Affected By Smog?
At present, Pakistan and India are severely affected by smog. Smog in Pakistan has hindered transport and communication spanning over days and it also has adverse effects on the health status of the population. Other countries affected by smog include China, USA, Canada, Brazil, Iran, Egypt, and Russia.
How Can We Combat Smog?
It is our duty to keep our earth safe and secure because its the only planet we have! We need to start reducing the damage we have already caused and simultaneously stop causing more damage; only then we will be able to reverse the damages. We need to unite for combatting the damage, if not the world will be destroyed completely.
- The most obvious yet the most essential solution is to plant trees. Countries need to carry out large-scale forestation and afforestation programs. One such example is the Billion Tree Tsunami project in Pakistan.
- The use of fossil fuels needs to be eliminated completely. Countries need to switch to renewable energy sources. The burning of fossil fuels is the major contributor to air pollution and thus global warming and smog.
- Reduce chemicals that are harmful to the environment. CFC and methane producing activities and products need to be stopped.
How Pakistan Is Combating Smog?
Pakistan has taken the environmental issue very seriously. Several steps have been taken to combat the problem of smog in Pakistan and other climate change problems:
- Planting of one billion trees.
- Pakistan has ceased cross-border crop burning
- Pakistan is in the process of stopping complete operations of traditional brick kilns and is moving to zigzag firing kilns. Zigzag kilns reduce smoke production and emission immensely.
- Eleven air monitoring stations are being set up.
- Crop stubble burning is being stopped.
The soon we realize that we don’t have a Planet B, the soon we will focus on preserving nature.