Along with joining the ranks of the most polluted cities in the world, Lahore experiences an early onset of hot weather every year.
Environmental experts say climate change has been observed after the establishment of housing societies on farmland, the abundance of vehicles, the burning of crops and garbage, the smoke from factories and ovens, the deforestation for construction and low water levels in rivers.
The phenomenon of an early onset of summer is observed throughout Punjab.
The highest temperature in Lahore in April has risen from 34 to 42 degrees over the past decade. Heat waves cause difficulties for citizens.
The situation appears to be getting worse despite government efforts and claims of measures being taken to control soil and air pollution in Lahore.
Construction on farmland around Lahore is prohibited, but new housing corporations are being set up.
With the depletion of agricultural land, pollution increases with the intensity of the heat.
Official records show that the number of factories in Lahore is over 1,200 and there are 120 kilns.
There are six million cars and motorcycles in the city. The carbon dioxide contained in the smoke emitted by factories and vehicles is the source of pollution.
The Ravi River is almost dry. Factories and housing companies pollute groundwater with untreated sewage, which, together with the reduction of water in the river, intensifies climate change.
With Lahore’s population already exceeding 12 million, construction work is on the rise, including high-rise buildings. With the increasing population of Lahore, its area is also increasing. The natural ground is replaced by roads and streets.
Thousands of trees have been felled due to city expansion, road construction and other megaprojects. The number of trees planted is very low and even they die for lack of care.
The deputy director of the environment department, Ali Ejaz, told The Express Tribune that the effects of climate change are being felt across Punjab as they are in the rest of the world.
Lily The meteorological service allays fears linked to the heat wave
He said the department was taking steps to remove pollution from Lahore using resources provided by the Punjab government.
There are about 120 brick kilns in Lahore where modern zigzag technology has been installed to reduce smoke emission.
Cameras have also been installed in factories to monitor polluting activities. The official said more than 40,000 penalty challans had been issued during a campaign against smoke-emitting vehicles. Measures have also been taken to prevent the burning of crop residues and garbage and actions in this regard are continuing.
The environment official said more trees were being planted to combat pollution and rising temperatures.
However, meteorology department director Muhammad Aslam said the heat wave was intensifying due to high atmospheric pressure in the upper areas.
He said the temperature also exceeded 40 degrees in April 2010. The weather reoccurred and the highest temperature was recorded at 42 degrees.
The expert said the main reason for the rise in temperature was climate change. He said the temperature in April would normally reach 34 degrees Celsius, but this year it had reached 42 degrees. An expert has warned that the mercury could rise to 48 degrees in May and June.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 15and2022.