A day ago while inaugurating the Miyawaki urban forest plantation’ campaign in Lahore, Prime Minister Imran Khan called the smog a “Silent Killer” which poses a serious threat to health as the fine chemicals in smog affect the lungs and brains of children and the elderly with “serious consequences”.
The next day Lahore has been ranked among the worst cities of the world for its poor air quality. The Air Quality Index was recorded 244 in Lahore, which put the city on the top of the list of the polluted cities in the world, followed by Dhaka and New Delhi.
Poor Air Quality
Lahore has been regularly ranking at the top of Air Quality Visual’s live pollution chart of the major global cities. The forest cover of Lahore has been reduced by 70% in the last 12-13 years due to which Lahore now faced the issue of smog particularly during the month of February. According to the Meteorological department, fog has returned to the plains of Punjab due to low air pressure and change in weather patterns, which causes smog.
Altogether that makes Lahore one of the most atmospherically-polluted city of the world. Imran Khan rightly says “If this kind of consistent smog remains, it reduces the average lifespan by 6-11 years.”
To sort it out a grand campaign of urban forests on 51 different sites via Miyawaki method has been planned by government recently. The technique helps build dense and native forests. As per the Miyawaki method, 1,125 plants are being planted per kanal at all locations.
On the other hand the population of Lahore is increasing day by day, so are scattered and innumerable housing schemes. But these grand construction plans reduce the amount of land that could potentially be used for planting trees. Since there is no law which stops conversion of prime agricultural lands for housing or commercial purposes, the loophole is widely exploited by land developers.
Once was the “City of Gardens”, but today Lahore has only 3% of green area, which is continuously being paved to make room for asphalt and concrete in the shape of roads and buildings respectively. Many experts believe it is time to develop tier two cities to reduce unchecked migration to Lahore and shift focus from constructing unplanned housing schemes to sustainable development. As the ignorance of the connection between climate change and urbanisation has already resulted in damage.