Smog: The Silent Menace

Winter is upon us, and what that unfortunately means is that the sky is going to turn into one large soup of chemicals and dirt. And as much as we like to think of LUMS as a bubble, there is no protection this time. Statistically, things are worse than ever. Lahore is part of the elite company, having one of the worst rates of air pollution in the world. We breathe in air that is considered ‘dangerous’ by EPA standards and that isn’t even the worst part. Smog causes some terrible conditions including but not limited to a bad case of allergies, respiratory problems, skin conditions, and eye infections. With the already distressing finals and tons of assignments coming up, this can set one back further, culminating in a sad state of affairs. For people with chronic conditions such as asthma and COPD, smog can be particularly dangerous, so getting through the winter should be a top priority for us all.

Now, we aren’t going to solve this problem entirely, but we can protect and equip ourselves with some useful weapons against this force of destruction. Here are a few general and specific guidelines to follow:

  1. Avoid the outdoors. Sure, the outdoors can be fun and the weather is nice enough, but it comes at a cost. Just imagine, every time you breathe in the smoggy air, you’re breathing in millions of dust and dirt particles. That usually does the trick. This doesn’t mean you can’t go outdoors. If you feel the absolute need to, a facemask works well. Avoid having a run around midday; that’s when ozone levels are peaking.
  2. Don’t contribute. If we all support the Climate March, then surely we can bring some degree of change to our ultra-consumerist lifestyles. Use public transport for a change (some neat buses are running throughout Lahore). Don’t burn wood or trash in the outdoors, if you’re into that type of stuff.
  3. Stay hydrated. While this isn’t so apparent, hydration does wonders to your blood and acts as a detoxifier against the smoggy air. Plus, being hydrated just feels nice and comforting.
  4. Stop indoor pollution. Place some nice potted rubber plants or lilies in your room. They keep the air fresh and clean. And please don’t smoke indoors.

Also wild fact: If we all were to replace our regular light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs, we would eliminate 136 kilos of carbon dioxide that would otherwise join the atmosphere.

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