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Causes, Effects and Solution of Smog 2017


Smog is basically derived from the merging of two words; smoke and fog. Smog is also used to
describe the type of fog which has smoke or soot in it. Smog is a yellowish or blackish fog
formed mainly by a mixture of pollutants in the atmosphere which consists of fine particles and
ground level ozone. Smog which occurs mainly because of air pollution can also be defined as a
mixture of various gases with dust and water vapor. Smog also refers to hazy air that makes
breathing difficult.

Smog is of two types: photochemical smog – commonly formed in urban areas and originates
from elevated levels of hydrocarbon vapors and nitrogen oxides in the presence of sunlight, and
sulfur smog – formed when there is an increased level of sulfur oxides in the atmosphere. Below
are the main causes of smog.

How smog is formed?

Smog is formed when oxides of nitrogen combine with hydrocarbons in the presence of sunlight.
The main sources of these pollutants are released directly into the air by gasoline and diesel-run
vehicles, industrial plants and activities, and heating due to human activities.

Lahore smog 2017

Once again it’s the time of the year, Lahore seems gets covered with nasty and almost irritating
smog. A haze of thick pollutant smog covers the sky blocking out the sun, obstructing the view
during driving or walking on the road.

Lahore, Pakistan’s second largest city and home to more than 10 million people unusually
experiences a sudden elevated rise in air pollutants which is a combination of urban air pollution,
calm wind (mainly in the winter months) and penetration of polluted air from India causing
visibly dense smog that is said to have worsened over the past five years.

Air pollution has emerged as a major health issue in the country causing almost 60,000 deaths
because of the rising high levels of fine particulate matter in the air and Pakistan due to its air
pollution is now listed as one of the deadliest places in the world according to a 2016 report by
World Health Organization (WHO).

Causes of Smog

Smog-forming pollutants from numerous sources such as factories, consumer products or
vehicles are the typical causative factors of smog. In most urban areas, more than 50% of smog
is formed in consequence of vehicular emissions. Mostly, the occurrences of smog are associated
with the relationship between weather patterns and heavy motor vehicle traffic, industrial and
other consumer product emissions. Consumer products include solvents, paints, plastic
packaging and sprays.

Using coal as a fuel

Use of coal as fuel in heating or in power-producing plants discharges high concentrations of
sulfur oxides in the atmosphere. This is the major cause of smog.

Vehicular and industrial emissions

Emissions from the transportation sector resulting from fossil fuel combustion in cars, trucks,
buses, motorbikes, and boats are the chief contributors of smog formation. Industries equally
emit scores of gaseous emissions and fumes which leads to smog formation.

Natural causes

An erupting volcano can also emit high levels of sulphur dioxide along with a large quantity of
particulate matter; two key components to the creation of smog. However, the smog created as a
result of a volcanic eruption is often known as vog to distinguish it as a natural occurrence.

Terrible Effects of Smog

Effects on human health

Smog is composed of a mixture of air pollutants which can endanger human health. Various
human health problems such as emphysema, asthma, chronic bronchitis, lung infections, and
cancers are caused or exacerbated by the effects of smog. The effects include:

 Coughing and irritation of the eyes, chest, nose and throat High ozone levels can
irritate the respiratory system leading to coughing and wheezing. These effects generally
last for only a few days after exposure, but the particles in the smog can continue to
damage the lungs even after the irritations disappear.
 Aggravation of asthma: Asthma conditions are severely worsened by smog and can
trigger asthma attacks
 Breathing difficulties and lung damage: Smog also makes it difficult for people to
breathe properly.
 Premature deaths because of respiratory and cancer diseases: A 2013 WHO report
indicated that cumulative exposure to smog heightens the chances of premature death
from cancers and respiratory diseases.
 Birth defects and low birth weights: Smog is highly linked to birth defects and low
birth weight.
 The risk of developing rickets: Heavy smog that lasts for prolonged periods blocks UV
rays from reaching the earth surface. This results in low production of Vitamin D leading
to rickets due to impaired metabolism of calcium and phosphorus in the bone marrow.
 Risks of road accidents or even plane crash: Smog interferes with natural visibility and
irritates the eyes. On this basis, it may prevent the driver or flight controller from reading
important signs or signals thereby increasing the probability of road accidents or even
plane crash.

Implications for plants and animals

Smog inhibits the growth of plants and can lead to extensive damage to crops, trees, and
vegetation. When crops and vegetables such as wheat, soybeans, tomatoes, peanuts, cotton and
kales are exposed to smog, it interferes with their ability to fight infections thus increasing
susceptibility to diseases.

The smog’s impact of altering the natural environment makes it difficult for animals to adapt or
survive in such toxic conditions, which can kill countless animal species or make them
susceptible to illness.

Remarkable Solutions to Smog Pollution

 Purchase renewable energy
 Reducing and managing vehicular and industrial emissions
 Increasing energy efficiency and conserving energy
 Use of environmentally friendly consumer products
 Smog detection and monitoring systems

Precautionary measure during smog

Eye-infections Wearing UV protected sunglasses outdoors can be helpful. To thwart augmented
allergy and any sort of eye infection, avoid rubbing the eyes and frequently use eye drops
suggested by your eye-specialists.

Coughing Drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water every day and include hot fluids to your daily
routine. It helps rinsing out the toxins from throat and lungs that can be beneficial in curing
cough and sore throat as well.

Headaches To counter this, keep yourself well-hydrated. Try to consume liquids throughout the
day, rather than just gulping them down at meal times. Moreover, try having hot showers as it
helps reducing ongoing exposure.

Asthma and allergies To avoid this situation limit your time outdoors, but if going out is the
only option then picks a personal protective tool such as a face mask, and cover nose and mouth
while stepping out. Keep asthma medications prescribed by your doctor handy.

Hazardous to cardiac patients People suffering with cardiac problems must avoid situations
where they are exposed to high levels of air pollution.
Other precautions include sanitizing their indoor air using air filters and avoiding outdoor
physical activities such as walking or exercising near smoggy and hazy areas.