Every problem in Pakistan is solved by imposing restrictions, if there is a gunfire incident, a ban is placed on pillion riding and if there is an explosion in a car in an area then the peculiar car brand across the country is confiscated. Similarly, the solution to a pandemic like Corona was also being sought through restrictions and now lockdown is being resorted to prevent air pollution and smoke across the country. A new term smart has been added to it so that the reader and listener will feel good about this lockdown. This smart lockdown will not reduce the dense swirling smog but it will definitely dysfunction education and business.
Pakistan is not the only country in the world where air pollution and smog are increasing. From the United States to China, all countries have been suffering from air pollution but they have made clear plans to control air pollution and is being controlled by implementing the temporal plan. No lockdown has been done there, neither business nor educational institutions have been closed. Those countries are controlling air pollution under long-term planning while we have reverse flow of Ganges, instead of addressing the causes of air pollution, our provincial governments are engaged in taking demonstrative measures like non-fancy lockdown and smart lockdown. Such measures may have little effect in overcoming smog, which is an intense air pollution caused by the mixing of gaseous combustion products in the vicinity of industrial cities.
It is strange that our rulers are not planning any long-term plan for the prevention of air pollution, nor are they taking any measures to prevent its causes. 40% of the causes of air pollution are faulty and substandard diesel vehicles whose toxic emissions also lead to smog. Besides, many factories are running without quality control and their smoke is causing smog. On the third place are brick kilns, which are working on traditional technology instead of modern zigzag technology and the smoke coming out of their chimneys causes’ air pollution. Fourthly, the air pollution is increasing immensely due to the burning of crop residues and lastly, unplanned demolitions and constructions are being done in the name of development work, which is also increasing the air pollution. These pronounced factors are known to all, yet our rulers are not making any plans nor are they making any efforts to prevent the causes of persistent air pollution. There is no provision for proper checking of vehicles across the country, nor is the smoke emitted from kilns and factories being controlled. Crop residues are being burnt despite the ban but no one is stopping the locals from the illegal act, nor is the enforcement of the law visible anywhere because the law is being violated with the consent of the institution and the administration. However, the outcome of this collusion is that air pollution is increasing day by day instead of decreasing due to which Punjab province and Karachi are engulfed in thick noxious smog.
Currently, air pollution and smog are becoming a big problem in Pakistan. According to a report of the University of Chicago’s Air Quality Life Index and research published by The Lancet, 135,000 people are dying annually due to air pollution in Pakistan while respiratory, dust allergy and heart diseases are on the rise due to smog. The cities of Pakistan, Karachi and Lahore, were once famous for their natural beauty and breathtaking climate but now they rank second and third in air pollution worldwide (IQAir). At present, if a healthy person breathes in the current atmosphere of Lahore and Karachi, he is inhaling smoke equal to 300 cigarettes in his lungs but our bureaucrats and rulers have no plan to deal with this serious problem, nor is there any quest to make a plan, even if there is a tattered old plan lying in the files, no one bothers to look at it, here it has been the custom to use a phony program to pass the time.
It has been our misfortune that in every government period, our leaders run an imaginary program of slowness on every issue. At present the issue of air pollution is being tackled with hesitation and our authority is all about shutting down educational institutions and businesses. Lockdowns are not needed to deal with air pollution, violators need to be locked up. The authority must remain conscious and shun anti-education and anti-business attitudes, if this crucial smog event is really to be controlled, then such steps have to be taken that can visibly reduce air pollution, nothing is going to happen with mere announcements of pretentious measures like artificial rain, nor can artificial rain be afforded in Pakistan. For this, where the causes of air pollution have to be addressed, the trend of planting trees should also be increased and this plantation drive must not be limited only to the government files, but should also be seen on the ground because now a green Pakistan can save us from air pollution.