LAHORE, Pakistan — For nearly two weeks, Lahore, Pakistan’s second-largest city, has been like one huge airport smokers’ lounge.
But Abid Omar’s jaw still dropped on Wednesday, when he checked the air-quality monitor he had installed to track the city’s appalling pollution.
But environmentalists say a real solution would require much more serious measures: improving fuel quality, phasing out fuel-guzzling cars, introducing solar and other renewable sources of energy, planting trees on a large scale and improving public transportation to reduce the number of cars on the roads.“There is a lot of media interest in the story and public anger right now, so emergency measures are being taken, but a long-term solution doesn’t seem to be a priority,” Mr. “The sense of urgency has to be sustained.”Most important, he said, the government needs to stop looking for others to blame, including India, whose crop fires Pakistani environmental officials have blamed for the worsening smog this year.“No doubt smoke from crop burning in India is a big problem, but let’s not pretend we don’t have our own part to play in this crisis,” Mr.
There is a two-way relationship between Europe and the rest of the world.
It said that levels of the dangerous particulates known as PM2.5, small enough to penetrate deep into the lungs and enter the bloodstream, had reached 1,077 micrograms per cubic meter — more than 30 times what Pakistan’s government considers the safe limit.“You can see and smell the smoke all day; you can actually touch the filth,” said Amna Manan, a 26-year-old manager for a multinational company in Lahore, a city of 11 million.
“Half the time, I’m scared to breathe in.”While Delhi’s air quality has generated headlines worldwide in recent days, experts say the air in Lahore rivals the Indian capital’s for toxicity.
In the absence of official information, some Pakistanis have taken matters into their own hands. Omar, who installed air monitors in Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar and Karachi, where he lives.
He has set up Twitter accounts to post the readings in real time. Omar was inspired by his experience living in Beijing, where the American Embassy changed the debate about pollution years ago by publishing air-quality readings on Twitter.
According to one estimate, approximately one quarter of the potential net primary production has been converted by humans, either through direct cropping (53%), land-use-induced productivity changes (40%) or human-induced fires (7%) ( A ) ( 13 ).
While such figures should be treated with caution, they do give an indication of the substantial impact of humans on natur al ecosystems.