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Smog-hit Pakistan welcomes much-needed rain

First winter rain helps decrease intensity of smog in Pakistan

Image Credit: Twitter
Snow falls on parked cars in Ziarat, Balochistan. The province saw the winter season’s first snow on Monday.
Gulf News

Islamabad: The much-awaited rainfall in Pakistan’s twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, as well as other parts of the country, has reduced the intensity of the toxic smog that had prevailed over the last two weeks.

The first rain of the winter has been welcomed as a blessing by many people, as the prolonged dry spell had increased the prevalence of viral infections like nasal and throat allergies, chest infections and fever.

It also affected the agriculture sector in the country.

On Tuesday, rain and thunderstorms were reported in Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore, and Faisalabad. Other areas that received rains include Multan, Bahawalpur, D.G. Khan, Kohat, D.I. Khan, Sukkur, Larkana, Quetta, Kalat, Zhob and Sibbi divisions.

Balochistan province, particularly the cities of Ziarat and Quetta, saw the winter season’s first snowfall on Monday, bringing temperatures down.

Citizens celebrated the arrival of winter by sharing photos on social media as the beautiful junipers of Ziarat were blanketed by thick snow.

The northern parts of Balochistan, including Zhob, Qilla Saifullah, Sherani, Loralai, Qilla Abdullah and Pishin also received light rain.

“Ziarat has received first snowfall of the season which was recorded between 1-2 inches in hilly and plane areas,” said a senior weather department official in Balochistan.

Meanwhile, chilly winds and snowfall in northern and central Balochistan forced many people to take out their woollies and turn on the heaters.

However, the gas pressure decreased after the rainfall and a drop in temperature in Quetta which compelled some to ignite wood and use gas cylinders to keep themselves warm.

A large number of people reportedly lined up at cylinder shops to fill their cylinders as low pressure led to difficulty in cooking food.

According to Pakistan Meteorological Department, more rain and thunderstorm with snowfall on hills is expected in the next 12 hours at scattered places in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, FATA, Islamabad, upper Punjab including Rawalpindi, Lahore, Gujranwala, Faisalabad and Sargodha divisions, Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. While, dense foggy and smoggy conditions are likely to decrease in plain areas of Punjab.

In the last 24 hours, Zhob recorded 28mm of rain while Barkhan and Kalat 7mm, Quetta 4mm, Layyah 16mm, D.G khan 12mm, Multan 6mm, D.I khan 13mm, Jacobabad 6mm while Sukkur 2mm.

The first spell of winter rain is indeed a relief for farmers and the broader agriculture sector, as the prevailing dry spell and smog was harmful for the growth of all citrus fruits including oranges, which are in ripening stage on thousands of hectares across the country.

The current rain spell could add a positive impact on the seasonal pulses cultivated over thousands of hectares of land across the country and fruit orchards as well as boost their production, according to the Food Security Commissioner of the Ministry of National Food Security and Research, Dr Imtiaz Ahmad Gopang.

He added that “The rains would be most beneficial for wheat, which is major cash crop of the season and a vital source of staple food to fulfil the domestic food requirements as well as for exporting to fetch a reasonable foreign exchange reserves for the country.”