Winter is here and smog is disturbing all around world. Do you think this is fog and haze intensified with smoke and appearing in last few years? You are right this is fog, haze and smoke with other pollutants but it didn’t appear in last few years; it also affected the British capital London in 1952. The first ever known smog occurred in Los Angeles; it took researchers a few years to recognize what it is and what are the possible causes?
Causes of smog:
Scientists started with the proposition that vehicles are the main cause of this irritating smog; but later it came to knowledge that many different factors contribute to its formation. Exhaust emission is largely responsible for smog. When fuels are burnt the gases and pollutants are released in air; these gases then react with sunlight and fine particles of atmosphere and as result smog formed.
Air pollution augments these causes of smog. When winter comes, wind speed becomes comparatively very low and the standing air allows level of pollutants to form in air and it appears as smog. As a scientific fact, cold air remains surrounded under the layer of warm air; so pollutants stay at ground level and cannot be disseminated.
Burning of agricultural waste:
In recent years, Pakistan has seen some of the worst instances of smog in the world. Many factors have contributed to worsening of the situation; some prime reasons of this occurrence of polluted smoke is uncontrolled pollution, poor implementation of environmental laws, miserable recycling practices, exhaust from vehicles and burning of agricultural waste.
Pakistan is predominantly an agricultural economy and since decades a significant percentage of population has earned their living through agriculture. It is a sorry state of affairs that there is no proper mechanism for getting rid of the agricultural waste.
The common practice in all parts of the country is to burn the waste in order to dispose it off. This produces uncontrolled amount of smoke and contributes significantly to the pollution level. This practice of burning the agriculture waste has been one of the root causes of smog in Pakistan. In turn, this smog has created problems like diminishing the agricultural produce. Smog prevents the growth of plants that can lead wide damage to crops, trees and vegetation. It also impacts the natural environment that makes it tough for animals to survive in such conditions.
Adverse effects of smog:
It may be dangerous to breathe in too much smog. Smog contains many pollutants, in particular nitrogen oxide, volatile organic compounds, tropospheric ozone and peroxyacytyl nitrate. Nitrogen oxide cause negative effects on respiratory system which is the cause of inflammation of the airways at high level. This gas also creates the ground level ozone that is associated with adverse health effect. Ozone and elevated ozone levels can deplete the lining of lungs.
Breathing in ozone can prompt numerous health issues like throat discomfort, chest pain, emphysema, coughing, bronchitis, and asthma among others.
Time for preventive measures:
Each one of us should do our little part to reduce smog from our atmosphere to save ourselves, our generation and all other beings that make our environment beautiful. If we want to reduce smog, we should take measures to prevent pollution.
We can use environmentally safe products, dispose trash properly, avoid products that release volatile organic gases and compounds, avoid smoking indoors, lessen clutter, use filters on chimneys, industries should be built away from societies and most importantly recycle everything that can be recycled.