The impact of smog on respiratory illnesses is well-known and experienced by all. Disturbingly, a few years back UNICEF unveiled research that said that air pollution can damage a child's brain forever.

The South Asian region has the largest proportion of babies living in an area where air pollution is at least six times higher than the international limits.

If that doesn't make these countries' leaders focus on combating air pollution, nothing will. Which means we all need a larger push by the people of the region - demanding their governments do better and do right by them.

Environmental activists in the region say there is woefully little attention paid to air pollution - and that too just when smog season starts.

THE Developing World in particular has reached hazardous sir quality levels in keeping the annual smog nightmare the cities go through during the winter season.

Take the case of Pakistan : the country faces a severe air pollution challenge; the issue exceeds  European Levels by almost 10-20 times, and sometimes even more.

According to the Pakistan Air Quality Initiative [PAQI], air pollution causes 59,241 deaths each year. Even when lives are not directly lost, millions more continue to suffer long-term breathing ailments as a result of the high levels of air toxicity.

For example, in Lahore, in the last half of a decade, smog clouds have continued to engulf the city throughout the year, which gets hopeless in the winter months. There is a need to set up monitoring mechanisms and target numbers which must be achieved by taking action against the polluting industries.

This cannot be done without taking a comprehensive approach toward curbing pollution.

Over the years, in almost all of the Developing World, there has been a failure to come up with strict regulatory frameworks, without much regard to the fact that this has led directly to a spike in respiratory illnesses and thousands of premature deaths every year.

What was once a blanket of fog, a traffic hazard at its worst, is now a death trap for the respective public.

And, contrary to what was the most popular theory behind smog, crop burning is not enough to explain the intense concentration of pollutants in major cities.

It is the absence of environment-friendly industrialization and transport policies that are the biggest factors for the rise of hopeless air pollution in urban areas. What the developing world needs are  measures to look for ways to stop dependence on a coal-friendly energy policy and a car-friendly transport policy.

Needless to say, much more is required. The region needs to ensure that their children breathe in air that doesn't kill them.

The citizens need to demand this from those that lead them.

The World Students Society thanks the editorial staff, The News.


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