Smog: A common concern for all of us

The word smog comes from integration of two totally different words “smoke” and “fog”. It refers to the type of fog that holds smoke. Once fuel combustion takes place tons of little parts invisible to human eye are released due to smog concern, however after they accumulate they build-up smoke which is visible to the human eyes.

Smog:  A common concern for all of us

It usually consists of carbon compounds in the shape of soot, tar, oily substances and ashy materials. It is build-up as a result of full or partial fossil fuel burning. In this process of burning fossil fuel could not get necessarily amount of oxygen to complete the process of combustion. As a result, lots of tiny and partially burned elements are set free into the atmosphere.  

Fog alone is a process of cloud like formation, but on the area near to the ground, water droplets and ice specks start suspending in the air which results in the formation of moist and cloudy combination of various fluids. Now, when both smoke and fog combined together, an atmospheric phenomenon formed which is called “SMOG”.

The word smog is also known as “photochemical smog”, which is formed as a result of complex photochemical processes in between oxides of nitrogen (NOx), sulphur oxides (SOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which contaminate the environment by releasing tropospheric ozone and particulate matter.

Smog formation phenomenon:

Because of high temperature, gases present near the Earth surface trap heat, when air get heated it become lighter, lighter air move upward but because of very low or no wind this air get trapped. Trapped gasses with high temperature react with wastes in the presence of sunlight and emission creating from above mentioned sources produces smog. Due to higher pollution caused by industrial, commercial and domestic pollution, smog is generally present in the both developed and underdeveloped countries of the world.


There are various sources of smog but most common and important one are emissions coming from transportations, burning of agricultural products like crop residue (wheat, rice, maze and cotton) and waste from industrial sector. Smog is also depends upon the other factors like wind speed, severity of temperature, amount of heat coming from sunlight.


Some major problems to human health due to smog are following:

  • Asthma
  • Lung diseases
  • Respiratory issues
  • Tracheal infections
  • Heart issues
  • Various kinds of allergies


Issue of smog can overcome by following solutions:

1) Renewable energy use:

Pollution of air caused by burning of fossil fuels and coal power plants can effectively reduced by transferring energy production from non-renewable to renewable resources. For this purpose industrial sector must use renewable energy resources to reduce unwanted waste products.

In other sense we can say that it is vital to reduce or cut-short industrial waste, for this purpose proper legislative steps and policies must implement. This will not only move industrial sector towards renewable energy usage but will also ensure sustainable future development along with cutting down the dangerous emissions like NOx, SOx and VOCs.

2) Smog Detectors:

With the help of smog detectors overall smog levels can monitor. Authorities can detect smog danger earlier and before it get grow above all precautions and preventions.

3) Community awareness:

The most important step to combat with smog issue is to create community awareness about the measures which have to be taken in case of smog problem. Community must be aware about the usage of public transport instead of private transport to cut down vehicular emissions as vehicular emissions are one of the major reasons of smog formation.

Additionally, it is vital to educate farmers and agricultural personals against crop residual burning. Farmer’s community must learn proper awareness for alternative methods of crop burning like usage of crop leftovers as a fertilizer.   

4) Smog eating towers:

It is an effective and latest technology which is currently using against smog right now in China. They are like big vacuum cleansers.
Positive ionization technology is used in it. Dangerous airborne pollution elements got stuck-up with these towers, refined and purified air released back into the environment. Its capacity to purify the air is about 30,000 m3 air hour-1.

5) Smog free bicycles:

It is another technology to cope-up smog problem. These bicycles sucks-up the smog containing air whenever paddled and cleans many hazardous polluted substances present in that air.


These technologies are relatively new, making it very difficult and expensive to implement in Pakistan right now, but we can consider it as a future option. For the above reasons, there has been a growing awareness towards the issue of smog because it is something that can be experienced by everyone and people although not being able to measure, can relate to the environmental conditions worsening within the last few years. The identification and development of clean methodological approach can play an important role in solving air pollution problem.




By Haseeba Maryam

M.Sc.(Hons) Environmental Sciences, University of Agriculture Faisalabad, Pakistan.