The Delhi-like Lahore Smog is Worrisome – Startups and solution providers may find this useful

A Private channel has recently reported that smog has caused 610 road accidents in 36 districts of Punjab. The Motorway also remains closed at certain hours in zero visibility due to smog factor. Mr. Salman Rafiq the Advisor to CM on health recently mentioned in a press conference that if need be, the government may consider “temporary closure of schools.”

The Smog has engulfed several cities in Punjab and Lahore happens to be the most affected out of all. This recent phenomenon has caused an increase in health issues such as breathing troubles and irritation in the eyes. The residents have reported a no of issues and the doctors are advising to stay indoors and use masks for outdoor activities.

Many reporters and papers have written about several reasons behind the Smog Factor. According to images shared by NASA this is because of crop burning in India. One must be aware that the residents of Delhi have been facing issues due to the intense smog for a couple of years now. Other contributing factors include road construction and pollution caused by industrial setups. According to the Pakistan Meteorological Department rain is the only cure for this kind of smog and one happens to wait desperately for it.

Following is a list of services and businesses that can help residents and companies fight the risks associated with smog.

We are also sharing some Indian Startups whose models could help us understand the service provision. (These examples were originally picked and published by Aashika Jain Associate Editor, Entrepreneur.com to highlight the solutions for Delhi residents and are extracted here from the same piece).

1) Air filters and Purifiers could provide affordable risk management.
Smart Air Filters, a clean tech startup that was launched in 2015, boasts of clean air starting at Rs 3,959. Its products range from HEPA filters, DIY air purifiers, laser egg air quality monitor to pollution masks at a low cost.

2) Special Masks designed for Anti-Pollution Environment
OnMask Life Sciences is a Hyderabad –based startup that aims to deliver high quality breathable air and offers multi layer anti-pollution masks for industry as well as common public.

3) Managing and Monitoring Air Quality to breathe better
Airveda started by ex-chief Product Officer of India’s food app Zomato is offering air quality monitor manufactured in India since 2015. The monitor connects to an app on the user’s phone to help them manage the quality of air they breathe.
Oizom an Ahmedabad-based application uses an air-quality monitor called Polludrone, which measures various parameters of ambient air like dust particles, hazardous gases, ambient noise, odours, radio waves.

4) Plant Delivery Services for Residents and Consumers
Nurserylive is a Pune-based startup that lets customers order plants, seeds, and bulbs, which could help them fight pollution in the air. The company delivers around 3,000 plants daily and sources from numerous nurseries.

5) E-Commerce to sell antipollution gear
Indian E-Commerce giants including Snapdeal, Flipkart and Amazon, eBay are also doing their bit by the sale of anti-pollution gear including mask, skull cap and other equipment to help Delhi combat the haze terror.

smog1

There are a no of businesses in Pakistan that deliver environment control products and services. Its also important to mention here that listing the above does not mean any sort of comparison between two countries. Its just to share how Delhi may already be looking at it. Environment and Pollution control is a bigger issue for both India and Pakistan and at some point they may need to discuss solutions to help residents access better air quality. One may not ignore that there are several Venture Funds in India that support the cause.

Following is the list of Climate and Environment Control and Support organisations in Pakistan.

1) PAKISTAN ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
2) WWF Pakistan
3) GEF Small Grants program
4) Acumen Fund
5) Environment Protection Foundation

According to a report by the Finance department of the government,
Ministry of Climate Change has taken many initiatives to increase the awareness and to change the attitude of people regarding environmental issues. More about that can be found here http://www.finance.gov.pk/survey/chapters_16/16_Environment.pdf

The details about Air Pollution and how the Government intends to deal with it can be found in the above-mentioned link. The following excerpt from the report may help understand the solutions proposed by the government

The continuous fog and smog conditions in Lahore and other areas of Punjab in the winter months, with delayed rainfall, is a worrisome factor. To overcome these issues present government has introduced the rapid, safe and modern mass transit system in major cities to make the mobility easier which will be also helpful in reducing the pollution.

The Indian government has taken similar steps in the past but the situation has grown worse. Both countries have a huge population and this means a more “serious and sustainable” effort is required.

Pakistan now has the 6th largest population in the world. There could be more than one reasons for environmental issues and smog to exist, such as; Increased pollution, burning of agricultural land, loss of natural resources, increased industrialization and urbanization. While the government continues to create policies and set standards to overcome these issues they may not be enough.

It maybe the right time for private sector to invest in solutions also. This calls for more action by individuals and companies. You may apply here if you have the next big idea that can save people from the terrible haze. (www.bfi.org, www.ashden.org, www.goodcompanyventures.org, www.schwabfound.org)

It may also be the right time to check with incubation centers in your cities for the next cohort. This maybe the perfect opportunity for you to use your resources, if you are the kind who likes being part of the solution!


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