Jun 192008

Vehicular emission blamed for miseries | People suffering from lungs, nose throat diseases | Police must check smoke emitting vehicles: director EPD | PTA secretary says CNG buses only solution

Jamaluddin Jamali

LAHORE: People here are forced to live in an environment marred with the presence of lethal gases, lowering life expectancy, and causing serious diseases. Worst is the absence of government policies in this matter, The Post has learnt.

At least 2.5 million vehicles of low quality engines, which are plying on city roads, are creating excessive emission of the lethal gases including hydrocarbons, Sulfur dioxide, Carbon Monoxide, and Ozone in the air, say insiders.

The environment experts said excessive emission of hydrocarbons, Sulfur dioxide, Carbon Monoxide, Ozone and other gases by vehicles in daytime reacts with other gases and forms a chain reaction of dangerous gases. One of the dangerous gaseous matter is ozone gas (O3) which is good up on high sky but highly dangerous near the surface of the earth and it is produced by an electric discharge in oxygen or by the action of ultraviolet radiation on oxygen in air, especially in the high traffic zones.

The experts said that burning of the nose and throat, breathing difficulties, and severe airway obstructions’ are direct result of exposure to air pollution especially on the roads. “The mixture of smoke and dust seen in the shape of black smoke is a hanging sword on the citizens and it is killing them silently as they do not know why they fall ill frequently with unending health complaints”.

The experts said that a layer of thick smoke on leaves of trees and plants in the city is not just ordinary dust rather it is poisonous mixture of lethal gases which hinders production of oxygen by tree and similarly the smoky substance affects human lungs and air pipe along with serious damage to skin and eyes. “It is one of the reasons of growing gray hair early and aging symptoms in youth”.

As per the reports, being received round the clock by the Punjab Environment Department by its Two Fixed Air Quality Monitoring Systems installed in the city, Hydrocarbons, Sulfur Dioxide, Carbon Monoxide, Ozone and other lethal gases have crossed the limits/standards set by World Health Organisation (WHO).

The Fixed Air Quality Monitoring Systems have been installed at Lower Mall, Town Hall and Quaid-e-Azam Town Township, and the Punjab Environment department is getting air quality reports which have increased apprehensions about air pollution risks in major cities, especially Lahore.

One Mobile Air Quality Monitoring System is also being used to monitor air quality in the city is helping in setting the ambient air quality standards in Pakistan.

The experts added that vehicular pollution is every where but the condition in Lahore is crossing limits mainly due to concentration and congestion of traffic of trucks on few roads which results in chain reaction of other gases and emissions.

The experts said that air pollution problems in Lahore are linked with the network of roads in the city and density of traffic in a few areas due to which the entire city population suffers. In addition, the permissible level of dust- PM 2.5 has increased due to mobile and stationary combustion sources and commercial activities in the city. Even in the isolated areas like township dust particles value has reached to 80ug/m3) in the non rainy seasons against the permissible 25 ug/m3 for 24 hours. Exposure to very high levels of sulfur dioxide can be life threatening. Exposure to 100 parts of sulfur dioxide per million parts of air is considered immediately dangerous to life and health. The miners who breath sulfur dioxide are hit hard.

Muhammad Tahir deputy director environment protection department told The Post that noise pollution, air pollution, are due to faulty engines and lack of vehicle testing system or the negligence of authorities concerned in implementing standards set for vehicles.

Environment Secretary Zafar Iqbal told The Post that the lethal emissions from faulty vehicles is causing threat to human life and added that it is responsibility of the traffic departments to check faulty vehicles and make traffic plan for the city which may create minimum emission of dangerous gases.

Secretary Provincial Transport Authority Muhammad Iqbal told The Post that smoke emitting vehicles having faults in engines will not be allowed to run on roads and strict action will be taken against violators of rules set for fitness of vehicle including cars, buses, vans and rickshaws. He said a crackdown will be launched against such vehicles and CNG buses will be introduced in the city.

Source: The Post, 19/6/2008

 Posted by at 7:04 pm

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