I Showers improve City’s air quality I likely to decrease chances of nose, throat ailments among children, besides 

reducing pulmonary diseases and pneumonia I Rains to prove good for wheat crop in Punjab, to benefit farmers

LAHORE  -  Amid prolonged dry spell, worsening air quality, concentration of smog, another spike in the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and health hazards, the first winter rain on Sunday morning washed the provincial capital environment clean and brought joy to Lahorites by lessening smog to a great extent. 

The mercury fell to 16 degrees Celsius due to the heavy rain. Lahorites felt relief from the smog conditions with improvement in the air quality. Though the air quality count slipped down to 198, it is still far behind the ideal of fair mark of 20-49 air quality index (AQI). 

The weather experts have forecast a minimum temperature of 12 degrees Celsius with overnight showers on Sunday night, while the mercury is expected to remain 22 degrees Celsius on Monday morning. The Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) had forecast rain for Sunday after showers and snowfall in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and the Northern Areas on Saturday. According to experts, the smog situation would improve considerably after significant dip in the mercury and rise in humidity above 50 per cent mark. Lahore is the worst affected by smog due to high number of smoke-emitting vehicles and burning of stubble in the nearby rice-growing adjoining cities like Kasur, Sheikhupura and Nankana Sahib. Smog persists when the temperature remains between 19 and 21 degrees Celsius mark with humidity under 30 per cent. Aslam Chaudhry, Director at the Meteorological Department said that relief from smog might be transitory as farmers in the Indian Punjab burn too much stubble. However, situation in Pakistan’s part of Punjab would improve in two weeks, he said.  

About the rain impact on agriculture, the Met expert said rains would prove good for the wheat crop in Punjab, adding that rains would benefit farmers who were in the process of cultivating wheat crop. 

According to Dr Javaid Iqbal, head of ENT Department at the Services Hospital, rain would help control nose and throat ailments among children, besides reducing chances of pulmonary diseases and pneumonia. He said that nose and throat infection were mainly because of smog before the winter sets in, adding that the rain will bring a relief in health hazrads caused due to smog and poor air quality in the metropolitan city. The Met office recorded minimum temperature of 9 degrees Celsius in Balochistan’s capital, Quetta, while cities of Peshawar and Northern Areas and the Federal capital Islamabad recorded a temperature of 13 degrees Celsius.

The first rain, besides improving the air quality situation, had given relief to Lahorites to celebrate as the fall in the mercury is bound to encourage more outdoor activities which had been hindered so far due to smog and COVID-19.