In 1952, as many as 12,000 people are thought to have died from dense smog that smothered London. On Dec. 5 that year, a high-pressure weather system caused cold air to be trapped below warmer air higher up. As a result, emissions from factories and domestic fires could not be released into the atmosphere and remained trapped near ground level, producing the worst pollution-based fog in the city’s history.”Great Smog of London,” which caused an estimated 4,000 to 12,000 deaths in five days mostly of children, the elderly and people with respiratory problems could be the fate of other large cities in the future. The smog epidemic has been hitting Pakistan’s largest city for years now, however, inadequate policies and actions have raised the levels of hazardous air. Lahore’s air quality index hovered above hazardous levels as numbers surged from 300 to as high as 1100 so far in November, way over the 500 level that qualifies as ‘severe plus’ or in other words equivalent to smoking 25 cigarettes a day, leaving people home-bound or exposed to extreme health risks, hence putting the national economy on hold. For years, Pakistani environmentalists have referred to November as a “fifth season”. India, which borders Punjab, the problem seems to be growing worse, and this month it has reached what many Pakistanis are calling a crisis point. A spokesperson for the motorway police previously reported that different sections of motorway was closed owing to poor visibility amid dense smog while schools and offices have remained non-functional at a stretch. However, it is not all dark and gloomy as the Pakistan Meteorological Department has predicted rains in the upper and central parts of the country, which is to wash away dense smog disrupting all kinds of traffic and causing health issues to the people.Lahore’s air quality index hovers above hazardous levels, as numbers surged from 300 to as high as 1,100 so far in November, way over the 500 level that qualifies as ‘severe plus’According to German-watch, a think-tank advocating for the prevention of dangerous climate change effects has ranked Pakistan 7th most vulnerable country to climate change and first in the list for poor air quality. In addition, the climate change index risk of Pakistan is 1-10, which is indeed very high owing to the fact that the country witnessed more monsoon rains in summer followed by a dry spell at the arrival of winter. The problem of air pollution can be tackled to greater extent by traffic control measures, setting and implementing standards for industries to innovate and become cleaner, intensive farming, forestation and reforestation programs. Reduction in per capita energy use can also contribute in fighting this problem.Punjab Government says it has taken several emergency measures, including a ban on burning crops and solid waste. It says that more than 100 people have been arrested for crop burning and that hundreds of factories have been shut down for not having proper emission-control equipment. The Lahore traffic police say that they have collected more than $50,000 in fines in recent days from drivers whose vehicles did not met emissions standards and that two centers have been set up for checking commercial vehicles for compliance, along with installing air quality monitors all over the region to monitor the situation. Head of Pakistan Air Quality Initiative Said “I realized that in order for air quality to become a national conversation like it had in China to raise awareness about the hazards and solutions, we need the numbers to be out there”,Meanwhile, Dr Adil Najam, Dean Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies, Boston University, rightly said that Pakistan doesn’t need any such reports to tell that it faces serious climate challenges. “The problem is that we continue to refuse to act in the face of clear and present danger. Another report. Another list. Another ranking. Another seminar. Another talk. That will not help as much as action will”, he said. “Unfortunately, our politics and our media is to caught in immediate trivialities-tamashas, really – to pay heed to things that could actually imperil their and their children’s future”, concluded Dr. Najam. Lahore looks like a dystopian wasteland right now, kind of like a scene from Blade Runner, you can see and smell the smoke all day; you can actually touch the filth. It is high time that the government of Pakistan halts ill-conceived and ad-hoc energy policies and instead establish power generation plants that are primarily run by fossil fuels, before the toxic fog turn into “great smog” and accelerate to such an extent that neither the crops can be cultivated nor the people will be able to breathe clean air. The sense of urgency has to be sustained and environmental issues should be prioritized to avert this predicament.