Not Smog, Its Cancer!

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It was normally most evident when you would look at the skyline of New York or that of Beijing, that you observed that fogs are not a thing of the winter alone. It was then named smog because it was smoke trapped in the atmosphere as a constant reminder of what we were losing each day at the cost of industrialization and progressive growth.

What is Smog?

Since last week, Lahore is draped in a thick sheet of poisons reducing the visibility down to 20 to 25 m and causing severe irritation to the lungs and eyes. Sadly, it has been stipulated that it will continue to terrorize the people with breathing or ophthalmology related health issues till rainfall.

The chemicals contained in the smog consist of car exhaust fumes, industrial gases, dust and similar aerosolized micro-organisms. In an increased concentration or exposure, such chemicals can cause the rupture or irradiation of the protective mucous layer in the bronchioles and the eyes and cause them to inflame or develop an infection. If we talk about Lahore alone, the smog has been largely caused to increased road traffic and hence increase in the exhaust fumes high volume of road traffic, incineration of the garbage and dust winds from them. If you are currently suffering from severe headaches, red and irritant eye, labored breathing and sudden dizziness or heaviness.

How To Protect Yourself From Smog?

It will serve you well to visit a doctor immediately and reduce outside errands to a minimum till the smog problem can be rectified. All private and government hospitals have recorded a drastic increase in the number of patients being brought to the emergency department because of the alleviation of their symptoms due to the smoke. Increased exposure to these contaminants and poisons is stipulated to worsen the spread of diseases in the city. Furthermore, for the working population of the city, where staying at home is out of the question, it would be better to take precautionary measures to help protect yourself. These protective measures include:

  1. Wearing a face mask to avoid inhalation of the chemicals in high concentration.
  2. Regular face-washing and hand-washing to keep the eyes clean and prevent the accumulation of germs in the body.
  3. Regular use of sanitizers.
  4. All people diagnosed with breathing problem should carry their inhalers with them at all times.
  5. Use of vacuum pumps inside closed spaces (offices and homes) to suck the smog pollutants out of the air.
  6. Covering the crevices of windows and doors with a wet cloth to prevent the entry of smog.
  7. Clean your home with a wet cloth, every day.
  8. Decrease the consumption of cigarettes.

Stay indoors and keep yourself protected from the smoke or smog, however, you prefer to address the issue. With the lung diseases already ranking Pakistan amongst the top few with regards to the number of deaths they cause each year, there is more than just simple recognition of “Yeh fog nahin, smog hai” (It’s not fog, it’s smog) which will benefit us. Fearing the lives of children more than the adults, this thick sheet of smoke and all things bad is more daunting than the homophonic fire-breathing dragon, Smaug.

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Norin Chaudhry

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