Three dead as dense smog continues to cause traffic chaos in Punjab

At least three people were killed and eight others wounded in smog-related traffic mishaps in different parts of Punjab.

Thick smog continues to engulf large swathes of the province, resulting in poor visibility and thereby affecting routine life and traffic on roads.

Rescue sources said three people were killed when a motorcycle rammed into a bus in Bahawalpur owing to poor visibility.

In another similar incident in Okara, a passenger van, motorcycle and trailer crashed on the GT Road, leaving eight people, including a woman, with injuries. The injured were shifted to a nearby hospital for medical attention.

Keeping in view the prevailing weather conditions, several domestic and international flights were cancelled on Saturday in the province due to low visibility caused by dense smog.

As many as three international flights, en route to Faisalabad, were delayed and subsequently diverted to Lahore, besides a domestic flight from Karachi to Faisalabad.

Another flight from Multan to Jeddah was postponed due to presence of heavy smog and lower visibility around Multan airport.

The multiple sections of the M3 motorway have been closed for all kind of vehicular movement to avoid an untoward incident while the M2 has been closed for the heavy traffic.

The motorway police have advised the drivers to reduce speed and ensure switching on fog lights to avoid mishaps.

Earlier, several power plants were tripped due to smog causing power crisis in the provinces of Punjab and Balochistan. The National Transmission and Distribution Company (NTDC) had stated in its statement that the plant were tripped due to smog.

The unprecedented severe smog posing serious challenge to the national transmission system and the power division and the authorities are closely monitoring the situation, the NTDC press release stated earlier.

The provincial government has imposed ‘Section 144’ in the province till December 16 to bar farmers from burning leftover crops waste, which is believed to be one of the prime contributors to the smog problem in Punjab.

Punjab has been badly struck with such weather conditions in recent years in beginning days of winter in the region. The prevalent smog episode is similar to the one that struck the province last year, noted chief meteorologist Mohammad Riaz.

Smog is caused by a lack of rain and immense pollution. Smoke from vehicles, factories and burning of the remains of crops could one of the major factors behind the dense smog in the province, Riaz said.

Analysts are of the opinion that a spell of heavy rains or strong winds could clear the hazy conditions in the province.

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