Smog In Lahore Is Now Considered The Fifth Season! Find Out Why

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Punjab’s capital, Lahore has been labelled as the most-polluted city in the world, owing to its bad air quality. Since October this year, the quality of Lahore’s air has been slowly worsening until now when it tops the list for being the most hazardous in the world. Currently, the US’ released Air Quality Index (AQI) has put Lahore’s air quality at 397, which signals high levels of pollutants in the air. This air pollution is more commonly referred to as smog.

The Air Quality Index (AQI) measures air quality in cities across the world. Values greater than 100 are considered harmful and send alarm bells ringing for the governments to take care of the situation. In recent years, smog in Pakistan has come about to dominate much of the winter season. Sometimes people confuse smog with fog, however, the two are completely different but are engendered through a similar phenomena. Presence of water vapours in air create fog, whereas, smog or the haze that is quite visible all over urban Lahore, is caused by the presence of pollutants such as nitrogen oxides which react with sunlight to create a haze that is attributed dangerous for not affecting visibility but for health reasons as well. Here’s how.

Smog In Pakistan; What Does It Mean?

Smog is a growing environmental concern in Pakistan

 The AQI is like a thermometer that runs from 0 to 500 degrees, but instead of showing changes in the temperature, the AQI is a way of showing changes in air pollution. AQI values at and below 100 are generally considered to be satisfactory. When AQI values are above 100, air quality is considered to be unhealthy. 

Pakistan’s AQI has ranged from 150 to over 350 during the past few years, however, this year it is nearing 400. The government has also issued a number of warnings for people to wear masks, wash their hands and face as soon as they return home from outside, and use humidifiers. While at the same time, open crop burning, the biggest contributor to smog has been halted and termed illegal under Section 144 since October 6th.

Apart from endangering people’s health, smog adversely affects the agricultural sector as well. Rapid industrialization, smoke from factories and mines, extensive deforestation, and the planting of the wrong species of trees have all contributed to this issue. On top of this, lack of rainfall and low wind speed have also exacerbated the crisis.

What’s Being Done To Fight Lahore’s Smog?

Miyawaki's Approach for the restoration of natural vegetation
Miyawaki method is all about restoration of natural vegetation using natural methods

The incumbent government has introduced key policies to tackle this growing adversary. It is widely believed that rapid forestation activities will help, and for this reason a number of plantation drives have been initiated throughout the country. In addition to this, Prime Minister Imran Khan has encouraged the employment of Miyawaki Method of planting trees to combat smog in Lahore and announced the planting of 51 urban forest sites in the city. Additionally, as the tourism sector is expanded, attention is being given to ensure sustainable eco-tourism practices.

However, with air quality continuously dropping, it is feared that the problem will only exacerbate and prolong; and for this, more concerted efforts are required.

These techniques will require to be dynamic to put the country on a better path where this climate change recovery is possible. Globally, under climate law, numerous countries like in Europe have proposed a complete ban on using cars that do not have a hybrid engine, moreover, old cars are also fined. In addition to this open crop and garbage burning is also prohibited under law and emission caps are levied on factories to bring down net emissions.  These are some of the main causes of urban smog and therefore need to be rectified in order to improve the overall situation in terms of air quality.

However, for people in Lahore, there are a couple ways and home remedies to protect oneself from smog and its adverse effects on health.

Protecting Against Smog

smog can create a number of health-related issues as well
Smog is hazardous to health

In order to protect against smog, these are some useful tips:

  • Wear a mask at all times when you’re outside, even when in a car
  • Wash your face and hands as soon as you enter home. Keep your respiratory tract clean.
  • Invest in a good humidifier if you or someone at your home suffers from asthma. You can also take steam by boiling hot water in a pan and breathing in the cleaner humidified air.
  • Drink lots of warm fluids, especially herbal teas and soup. Do not eat or drink anything that might irritate your throat and nose.

If your symptoms such as dry cough, irritant eyes, and chest congestion last more than three days, it’s best to see a doctor as there are a number of viruses in the environment with all too similar symptoms. Moreover, as the winter progresses, there are concerns that cases of the coronavirus infection will increase simultaneously to health conditions caused by smog. It’s best practice to ensure that you wear a mask at all times, maintain social distancing, and wash your hands regularly.

If you know of any more ways to fight smog, write to us at blog@zameen.com. For more news, keep checking Pakistan’s largest real estate blog, Zameen Blog.



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Latest Updates on Pakistan’s Automobile Industry You Won’t Find Elsewhere!

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Accounting for 4% of the country’s total gross domestic product (GDP), the local automobile manufacturing sector has a major role to play in the progress and stability of the national economy. This is one of the major reasons why the federal government is making all possible efforts to facilitate the industries manufacturing vehicles locally.

The public and private stakeholders of the automobile industry are currently focusing on the production of low-cost hatchbacks and mid-size sedans, which are two of the most in-demand car types in Pakistan. There is also a huge demand for vans and minivans in the country, most of which are used as commercial and utility vehicles in the country.

Market Saturation and Local Auto Industry

With so many imported options available these days, Pakistan’s auto sector is now based on a saturated market. The increasing amount of imported vehicles is definitely not good for the country’s economy, but it is constantly pushing the local automobile assemblers and manufacturers to offer products that are affordable yet innovative.

New Entrants to Pakistan’s Auto Market

South Korean brands like Kia Corporation and Hyundai Motor Company have recently introduced their vehicles in Pakistan

We are all aware of the fact that the automobile industry of Pakistan has been dominated by Japanese players, namely Suzuki, Toyota, and Honda. Due to their partnership with local companies, they are locally known as Pak Suzuki, Toyota Indus, and Honda Atlas Cars. 

However, with new entrants tapping into Pakistan’s automotive market, things are expected to change within the near future. Keeping in view the incredible potential of the local auto industry, which is based on the rapidly-increasing consumer buying power, other world-famous brands are also planning to capitalise on the available opportunities.

South Korean brands like Kia Corporation and Hyundai Motor Company have recently introduced their vehicles in Pakistan. Another very famous Chinese-owned British automotive manufacturer, MG, has recently debuted in the Pakistani auto market with their subcompact crossover vehicles. 

You may also have heard about Changan. It is a Chinese brand, which has only been selling minivans and many other types of utility vehicles in the local market ever since it was introduced — up until 2021 — when it finally announced its very first sedan by the name of ‘Alsvin’. 

It was a groundbreaking move for a company like Changan, which put it in direct competition with many other leading automotive brands in the market.

The Affordability Factor

affordable sedan in pakistan
Changan Alsvin is an affordable subcompact sedan

Changan’s Alsvin is a compact sedan, which directly competes with Toyota Yaris and Honda City. Comparing the features side by side, Alsvin has more to offer than the latter options. Changan is currently putting in efforts to establish its name in the market, which is why it is now more focused on affordability without compromising on the features it offers. It is one of the main reasons why Changan is a few lacs cheaper than many other compact sedans that are directly in its competition.

Entirely ‘Made in Pakistan’ Cars

Along with international players entering the automotive market to provide more options to car buyers in Pakistan, there are also a few local brands that are producing and selling their own vehicles in the country. Companies like United Auto Industries and Regal Automobiles are two noteworthy examples in this regard. 

Both of these local manufacturers have launched 800cc small hatchback cars by the name of United Bravo and Prince Pearl, respectively. Costing around PKR 10 lakh, these cars are even more affordable than the cheapest variant of Suzuki Alto in Pakistan. 

What is Pakistan Automotive Manufacturers Association (PAMA)?

Pakistan Automotive Manufacturers Association (PAMA)
The primary objective of PAMA is the growth and development of the local auto industry

As the name implies, the Pakistan Automotive Manufacturers Association (PAMA) is a leading advocacy group for the Pakistani auto industry formed by automobile manufacturing companies, entities, and firms that operate locally. 

Licensed by the Ministry of Commerce, the group operates and functions according to the Trade Organisations Ordinance 2007. The primary objective of this association is the growth and development of the local auto industry. The group has also been formed to safeguard the interests of the local automobile manufacturers and assemblers. Following is the list of the members of PAMA: 

  • Pak Suzuki Motor Co. Ltd
  • Indus Motor Co. Ltd. 
  • Sigma Motors Ltd. 
  • Hinopak Motors Ltd. 
  • Ghandhara Nissan Ltd. 
  • Master Motor Corporation Ltd. 
  • Millat Tractors Ltd. 
  • Atlas Honda Ltd. 
  • Plum Qingqi Motors Ltd. 
  • Fateh Motors Ltd. 
  • Ravi Automobile Pvt. Ltd. 
  • Sazgar Engineering Works Ltd. 
  • Orient Automotive Industries Pvt. Ltd. 
  • Eiffel Industries Ltd. 
  • Yamaha Motor Pakistan Pvt. Ltd. 
  • Al-Ghazi Tractors Ltd.
  • United Auto Industries Pvt. Ltd.
  • Hyundai Nishat Motor Pvt. Ltd.

Projected Growth of Pakistan’s Automobile Industry’s 

fuure of automobile production in pakistan
Automobile production will increase by many folds in the next few years

Keeping in view the upcoming policies, incentives and various other initiatives by the federal government, the automobile sector of the country is about to witness exponential growth. The local assembling and manufacturing of vehicles, which now account for 250,000 units annually, will increase by many folds in the next few years. The authorities are currently working to achieve the target of 1 million locally produced vehicles per year. 

According to Pakistan’s Ambassador to China Moinul Haque, the country is also currently working on its auto policy for the next five years, which will also include special incentives and waivers for hybrid and electric vehicles in the country to promote the concept of eco-friendly transportation means nationally.

EV Policy in Pakistan

ev policy in pakistan
The government is aiming to convert at least 30% of the total vehicles in the country to electric vehicles within the next 15 to 20 years.

With the approval and initiation of the framework related to an auto policy promoting the concept of electric vehicles (EVs), Pakistan joined the global EV revolution last year. So far, the federal government has introduced many taxation and monetary policies in favour of EV and hybrid vehicle owners by announcing a reduction in taxes and charges. A comprehensive auto policy for the next five years, which is currently in the works, is expected to bring further leverages for the hybrid and electric vehicle industry in the country. 

In the federal budget 2021-22, the value-added tax on the import of electric vehicles (EVs) has also been waived for the current fiscal year. The authorities are currently working on a long-term plan, according to which they are aiming to convert at least 30% of the total vehicles in the country to electric vehicles within the next 15 to 20 years.

EV charging stations are being established all over the country. Prime Minister Imran Khan has recently introduced Pakistan’s first electric motorbike, which is manufactured and distributed by Jolta Electric. Considering all the aforementioned factors, the number of electric vehicles is expected to grow exponentially, which will further diversify the scope of the local auto sector. If you want to learn more about EV Policy in Pakistan, click on the highlighted text.

Now that we have given you all the latest updates and key information about the automobile industry in Pakistan, it’s time for us to wrap up. If you have any questions or feedback related to the topic, you can drop us an email at blog@zameen.com

On a side note, if you want to learn more about car financing in Pakistan, then you may like reading our detailed blog on the current auto loan rates in the country. Also, if you are living abroad, you can check out our piece on the Roshan Apni Car Scheme, which reduces the overall cost of car financing by up to 20% for non-resident Pakistanis.

For more informative posts related to major industrial and property developments taking place all over the country, subscribe to Zameen Blog — the best real estate blog in Pakistan. You can also get all our latest updates by subscribing to our newsletter.



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Find Out All About The Different Types Of Open Spaces

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Open spaces are integral for busy metropolitan cities. These are healthy spaces that are essential to counter the problems of rapid urbanization and to sustain natural ecosystems and biodiversity. In housing societies as well, there is a requirement for creating green spaces. Open spaces fall under the direct supervision of development authorities and regulatory bodies. However, it is the responsibility of all citizens to maintain and ensure a healthy ecosystem is able to thrive for years to come. Let’s see the many types of open spaces in a city and why you should take care of them.

Types Of Open Spaces In Cities

These are the main kinds of open spaces in cities.

Parks

Open spaces for families in cities

A city that’s home to an adequate number of parks is generally considered to be a healthy one, no matter the population or extent of urban sprawling. There are mainly two kinds of parks in cities: those located in housing societies, and the ones in forest-protected areas.

Both of these sustain biodiversity, at varying levels. Forest and/or protected areas are not easy to find in most cities. In Pakistan, you’ll find these more abundant in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. As these are naturally-occuring and fall under the direct supervision of town municipalities, these become protected areas. Prominent examples of these include Jinnah Park in Lahore, and Ayubia National Park in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. 

Protected areas become tourist attractions and sustain the local economy as well. Therefore, in recent years, the incumbent government has developed policies aimed at rehabilitating areas that can support tourism, in an effort to support the local economy. As for smaller parks that are mainly located alongside residential areas, they essentially cater to the residents by providing them with a recreational spot, while at the same time allocating space where vegetation can take place.

Also, check out the best picnic spots in Lahore, best parks in Lahore, and hangout places for kids in Lahore to experience the city up close. In addition to these, Lahore Zoo, and Karachi Zoo also present picnic spots, as well as an educational opportunity for people who want to learn about animals.

Green Belts

For most people in the metropolis, green belts are the dividing line between two roads, however, green belts carry out an important role in regulating temperature, and noise pollution. Their function is directly linked with how widespread they are. 

Moreover, you’ll see that in most properly-planned cities, these green belts are much thicker. In Islamabad, most main roads run parallel to green belts that are dense forest strips. In Lahore, along the Ring Road, you’ll see much larger green spaces where many families come to relax and spend time in a pleasant environment. Here, you’ll see a proper ecosystem with biodiversity that creates a fresh environment, much different from that of the surroundings. Many people also take these as recreational picnic spots and spend time here, away from their congested dwellings and city life that does not provide much respite against heat, humidity, and noise.

Outdoor Recreational Facilities

artificial lake in gulshan iqbal park with boat ride facility
You can enjoy a boat ride at a vast, artificial lake in the park

In Pakistan, it’s fairly common to see young people (especially boys) playing out in the streets and even green belts. Taking this as an opportunity, a large number of developers have created outdoor sports facilities which can be rented. You’ll see a lot of these in major cities like Lahore, Faisalabad, Islamabad, Karachi, Rawalpindi, etc. Open playgrounds or cricket pitches such as these offer a healthy way of spending time in a group. Many companies take their employees here for team-building exercises.

Similarly, water parks also offer opportunities for recreational water sports to people.

Also, check out the best cycling tracks in Lahore to make the most of the recreational facilities. There are numerous waterparks in Karachi, such as Paradise Island Waterpark, Karachi, Wild Venture Waterpark, and Great Fiesta Water Park. However, Lahore’s Sozo Water Park is also one of the most fun places in the city, especially during summers.

Outdoor Eateries

Ever since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in late 2019, most of the restaurants and cafes have shifted from indoors to outdoors. With this comes a lot more room to explore and upgrade how we view our eating experiences.

These are the best outdoor dining places In Lahore. While outdoor eateries have now become more commonplace, for many street food out in the open has always been a much-loved experience. This coupled with outdoor eating space such as in a park or anywhere with tables and chairs, allows families to get together and spend some quality time.

Beaches

Hut at French Beach, Karachi
Book Your French Beach Hut for a Fun-Filled Picnic

Open spaces such as beaches are one of the most precious sites to enjoy nature. While oceans are being polluted which is also affecting coastal areas, there is a dire need to sustain them, reap benefits from marine tourism, as well as providing people a healthy environment to experience the bounties of nature. Pakistan has almost 1,000 kilometres of coast stretching from Sindh to Balochistan, providing one of the best beaches where people go to surround themselves in a calm environment with pleasant sea breeze and ocean waves. 

These, too, are natural picnic spots that boost the local economy through tourism. Read this blog to find out how Charna Island and Astola Island are boosting local tourism. Here’s how Balochistan’s coast is being developed to support local and international tourism.

What’s your favourite open space in your city? Write to us at blog@zameen.com. Also, keep checking Pakistan’s largest property blog, Zameen Blog, for the latest news on Pakistan.



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