Abstract:

The paper
starts with the background of Air pollution and its recent effect-Smog in the
Lahore and Punjab. Since we don’t have any Smog Policy of our own previously, so
many international policies were looked up to in order to write something which
relates to our environment. The second part gives a brief policy in order to
combat and tackle this issue wisely and effectively. A fruitful result can be
achieved if Government, Public and Industrial sectors collaborate in order to
have cleaner air.

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Introduction:

Pollution can be defined as the interference of the
foreign substances into environment that causes the adverse changes in the
natural environment. The causes of the pollution are the pollutants that can
occur naturally or can be anthropogenic. Air pollution is the main cause of the
some serious diseases including respiratory infections, COPD, lung cancer,
heart diseases. Health effects that air pollution can cause may include
wheezing, coughing, difficulty in breathing etc.

Particulate
matter (PM2.5) particles are air pollutants with a diameter less than 2.5
micrometers, small enough to invade even the smallest of airways in human body.
Particulate matter pollutant is composed of a mixture of microscopic solids and
liquid droplets suspended in air. The chemical composition of particulate
matter changes with size (H. Ji, H. Zhao, S. Kong, Z. Bai and B. Han, pp.
177-185)
These pollutants are made up of a number of components, including SOx, NOx,
NH3, organic chemicals, volatile metals, soil or dust particles, and allergens (Y.Li, 2012).  Unlike most air pollutants that consist of
only one chemical compound, PM2.5 particles consist of multiple compounds and
are formed from primary and secondary particles (H. Ji, H. Zhao, S. Kong, Z. Bai and B. Han, pp.
177-185).

Primary
particles are formed during combustion, industrial processes and in natural
processes. Secondary particles are formed indirectly through nucleation,
condensation or processes where gaseous pollutants (SOx, NOx, NH3, VOCs) are
involved in particle formation or growth. Secondary sulfate and nitrate
particles formed from SOx or NOx precursors are usually the dominant component
in PM2.5 particles. As a result of the chemical components in secondary
participles, the environmental and health impacts from them are greater than
from primary particles. Since PM2.5 participles consist of multiple compounds,
multi-pollutant controls are needed to reduce PM2.5 pollutants (S. Wang and
J. Hao, 2012, pp. 2-13)

Coal
combustion from utility and industrial boilers contributes significantly to
PM2.5 pollution (D. Li, P. Qi
and X. Huang,, 2005, pp. 34-36).Air pollution is
complex and has local and trans-boundary impacts.

Smog is a
mixture of different pollutants, including oxides of nitrogen (NOX), oxides of
sulfur (SOX), carbon monoxide (CO), and particulate matter (PM), volatile organic
compounds (VOC) and the ozone. Among all other pollutants, NOx is the major
factor behind the buildup of smog. Several sectors are contributing to the NOx
emissions as shown below:

Sector

Smog Percentage

Vehicles

38

Electricity Production
and Distribution

24

Coal

1.0-3.5

Agriculture waste

1.4

 

Problem:

Air pollution
in Lahore, now a day has become a serious threat to the life of the people of
Lahore, Not only Lahore becomes the polluted metropolis of the country  Lahore is also among top 10 cities of the
world which is most susceptible to the smog. This is the first time smog has
reached Punjab’s cities. While studying the baseline ambient air quality during
the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) study of the ‘Master Plan of Lahore
Division 2035’ in October-November 2015, it was found that CO and PM at all
major places of the Lahore division were twice the National Environmental
Quality Standards, although NOX and SOX were well within limits. As NOX is the
major precursor for smog, the question is: from where did it come, particularly
in the quantity that triggered the reactions that build up smog? Environmental
experts have diverse views about the issue, with some saying that large-scale
burning of agricultural waste stock in Indian Punjab may have been the major
reason. This was also confirmed from NASA satellite imagery (Space, 2016) before sowing new crop;
farmers often set fire to the fields. The Punjab Agro Industries Corporation
Limited in India had set up agri-waste processing facilities and sold the
pallets to biomass power plants and to industrial processing as an alternative
to coal (Ashraf, 2016). But in recent years
farmers are forced to burn their agri-waste as they are not being paid enough.
Some experts have said that it is the coal power plants on the Indian side. While the current smog over Lahore is being attributed primarily to crop
burning, there are multiple sources of smog production. A World Bank study
revealed that several contributing factors were responsible for the high
particulate matter in the air which includes;

Contributing Factors

Percentage (%)

Diesel Emissions

28

Biomass Burning

15

Coal Combustion

13

Secondary Particulate Matter

30

Vehicles

8

Industrial sources

6

The biggest culprits were diesel and
emissions from motorcycles and rickshaws which accounted for 36pc of the high
particulate matter (Najam, 2016). According to Dr
Qamar-uz-Zaman Chaudhry, former director general of the Pakistan Meteorological
Department, “Climate change has affected the climate cycle creating an extended
dry cycle, which causes smog.” The value of NOx measured by the Environment Protection
Agency Punjab on Nov 5 at Mohanwal near Bahria Town was 525.17 ug/m3 against
the baseline value 28 ug/m3, is almost 18 times higher than the baseline value.
This amount of NOx is enough to spark a reaction to produce ground-level ozone
and then smog. (Butt, 2016). There is need to
tackle this problem of smog as it has many health hazards as 12,000 people died
in London Smog because of asthma, bronchitis and respiratory distress. (M. L. Bell and D. L. Davis, 2001)

The human body is unable to filter out
small particulates (Y.Li, 2012)
and as a result, dust and particulate matter that are smaller than 2.5
micrometers can enter into the alveoli in the lungs, where gas exchange occurs.
These PM2.5 particles negatively affect gas exchange within the lungs and can
even penetrate the lung, escaping into the blood stream to cause significant
health problems (M. Fu, F.
Zheng, X. Xu and L. Niu, 2011, pp. 1-6).

Health
studies in the US and Europe have shown a significant association between
exposure to fine particles and premature death from heart or lung disease (“Comparison of the EU and US Approaches Towards
Control of Particulate Matter”, 2005). The China Daily
newspaper reported that air pollution is a primary culprit for the increased 60%
cancer rate (J. Gong and Z. Cui, 2012)