Lahore, the second largest city in Pakistan, is currently mired in pollution. The air has become harmful in Lahore, which has a population of around one and a half million. Last November, the Air Quality Index (AQI) of Lahore was 345. Generally, if the air quality index is above 151, that air is considered impure. If the same index is above 300, that air becomes toxic. Lahore has been declared as the most polluted city in the world.
Lahore is an ancient city which is situated on the banks of river Ravi. Lav, son of Lord Sri Rama set up this city. Hence it got the name Lahore. Lahore played a major role in the freedom struggle of United India. The city is also known as the cultural capital of Pakistan. Pakistan’s cinema industry began and cultivated in Lahore. However, a few years ago the film industry shifted to Karachi. Pollution continues to rise in Lahore due to unregulated and polluting industries, brick kilns, and an uncontrolled number of vehicles.
There is a huge strain on the government system as there are only five centers that measure pollution. The local court has summoned the government to take measures to diminish pollution. The government has also proposed a ten-year time-bound plan. However, the locals have suspicions about whether it will be executed or not. At present, the government seems to be doing only measures like giving holidays to schools and colleges till the end of January and collecting penalties for polluting vehicles, as a solution to control pollution.
Pollution is not just a concern of Lahore city alone. Air quality has deteriorated across Pakistan. A survey conducted by the University of Chicago a few years ago revealed how toxic the air in Pakistan has become. According to this survey, 98.2 percent of Pakistan’s population lives in polluted air. Due to pollution, the average life expectancy of Pakistani citizens has dropped by three and a half years. The same ratio is four and a half years in Lahore. Last November, the Punjab government made artificial rains in Lahore to reduce pollution. This was the first such experiment in Pakistan. After that, the air quality index in Lahore fell below 200.
The Punjab government has rushed to experiment with artificial rain once again. This rain will be done with the help of experts from the United Arab Emirates. It will get rid of pollution to some extent. However, this is a temporary solution. Long-term measures have to be taken to achieve permanent control of pollution.