ISLAMABAD -  Experts have revealed that pollution in India is the main cause of smog in Punjab . They said that the fog may persist for another 15 days.

According to officials of Research and Development division of Pakistan Metrological Department, smog in Pakistan was a trans-boundary phenomenon.

“In India , hundreds of thousands of farmers set fire on rice fields. If you see air quality map recently released by the NASA, a vast area of India alongside Pakistan’s border can be seen all covered in red dots. This pollution is causing smog in Pakistan,” an official said.

He said that due to fewer rains in autumn season, temperatures fell down at night but rise in the morning. He said that due to heat the wind direction moves from east to west.

According to the NASA, the triangle between Indian states Amritsar, Jalandhar and Bhatinda is all covered in red indicating very bad air quality or high level of pollution . This area is adjacent to Lahore.

According to the Delhi Pollution Control Committee’s website, the level of small particles in the air called PM, reached 688 micrograms per cubic meter in one area of Delhi. This is more than 10 times the healthy limit set by the Indian government.

As per reports, farmers burn an estimated 32 million tonnes of the leftover straw to make room for planting their winter wheat crop. This is not the first time that Pakistani scientists have blamed India for trans- boundary pollution . In 2007, the same claims were made.

“If it is a trans- boundary effect, why after 2007, there were no complaints and why this year smog is declared worst by the PMDC itself,” said the official adding the absence of rain was the reason behind the smog in the country.

Long spells of dry weather aggravate the trans-boundary effect, in 2007, the SUPARCO released a map suggesting fog in winters in Punjab was caused by trans- boundary effect, he explained.

The official said that the smog with a small change in intensity will continue to affect Lahore and other areas of Punjab for another week or two. He said that presently a westerly system was passing through the country and it has caused rain in northern parts of the country and Murree during the last 24 hours but it was very shallow and will pass by Friday night without causing any significant rains. He said that there was still no indication of any rain for other 10 or 15 days.

Smog could go away if the cause of pollution is stopped immediately, or it would go away instantly if there is sufficient downpour, the official concluded.