The so called industrial and infrastructural development at the stake of environment and health should never be called advancement. This is exactly what has been done to Lahore specifically. The densely populated city has seen massive development particularly in the field of infrastructure and construction in the recent years.

After the success of metro bus project, initiative for orange train venture has already been taken. Besides these infrastructural projects, Nishat Emporium mall and Packages mall are already operational and open for public. These developments are definitely a hit among masses but many people (if not all) would agree to the fact that deforestation and pollution has made Lahore very toxic and noxious.

Lahore is facing very heavy smog this year also. Air pollution and pulmonary diseases are on a rise and would continue till there is not any hope for rainfall. Smog continues to grip Lahore and the surrounding cities and disrupts routine life. In this case, just waiting and praying for rainfall can never be a wise and practical solution.

Environmental hazards are already a matter of serious concern on the global level. With each passing day, all these developments are making environment more contaminated and toxic. Yes! Infrastructural developments and structural expansions might be the need of current times but plantation and reforestation should also be on the priority list of current government.

Currently government is only paying heed to its ongoing Panama crisis. There hasn’t been any official statement regarding this smog and precautionary measures to tackle this from government. Citizens are complaining about severe itching, burning eyes and difficulty in breathing. They are using face masks to avoid the harmful effects.

Wearing face mask definitely prevents one from getting pulmonary diseases but this can never be a lasting solution. Long term strategies need plantation on a top priority. Karachi has been facing heat stroke for the last few years and Lahore is dealing with this heavy smog for the second time. No matter what, we need to acknowledge KPK government for taking initiative for planting 1 billion trees. This aims to slow down the effects of global warming in Pakistan.

Currently, Lahore government needs to run some special awareness campaigns to let people stay secure from the hazardous effects of smog. According to air quality index, Lahore is currently at 202 ppm (parts per million) which is considered very unhealthy. Government should pay utmost importance to this issue and should go for plantation at a massive scale. Climate change is real and it is happening.

Citizens need to take care of themselves. All one can say is stay safe Lahore. You are the heart of this country and heart should never be polluted.

Hadia Rahman: An International relations Scholar by education; former news anchor; an academician, freelance host and writer by profession; environmentalist at heart. She tweets @hadiarah