Islamabad: The federal capital’s air quality was recorded clean and healthy after months of polluted air amid declined ratio of hazardous environmental pollutants in the atmosphere after week-long rainfalls lashed out the metropolis, reveals the 24 hours ambient air quality report of Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency (Pak-EPA)’s on Monday.
According to the report, since the October 2021 increased ratio of environmental pollutants causing bad air and degraded atmosphere were leading to smog. The National Environmental Quality Standards (NEQS) by EPA set a threshold of 35 micro-grammes per cubic meter for particulate matter of 2.5 microns (PM2.5), 120 micro-grammes per cubic meter for sulphur dioxide (SO2) and 80 micro-grammes per cubic meter to ensure clean ambiance.
The report highlighted that the past 24 hours average of PM2.5 was recorded35.41 micro-grammes per cubic meter which was reported higher than the NEQS levels during 8 hours average at 61 micro-grammes per cubic meter from 1600 to 2400 hours.
The other parameters of daily quality report included SO2 and NO2 which are generally released from industrial emissions.
The 24 hours average of SO2 was 18.7 micro-grammes per cubic meter and 9.41 micro-grammes per cubic meter of NO2 and both effluents were recorded within the permissible limits.
When contacted the EPA official informed that the air quality remained hazardous due to increased vehicular emissions and prolonged dry weather that resulted in huge accumulation of suspended particles of air pollutants in the atmosphere.
The official further informed that the air quality was healthy for all age groups whereas during bad air or increased pollution the general public was advised to wear face covering outdoors and avoid unnecessary travel in the federal capital.
The recent rainfall was overwhelming in magnitude and recurrence that helped in containing the suspended particles and other ambient air pollutants. She said that the areas along hilly terrain mostly possessed increased propensity of generating air pollution due to the natural topography creating a blockade for winds causing air pollution.
She further informed that one of the major reasons for Capital’s air pollution was large number of vehicles entering the capital on daily basis. The industrial sector particularly steel manufacturing units spewing dark smoke were the troublemakers and had adopted carbon absorbing scrubbers that helped control dark carbon release into the atmosphere, she added.
During the winter season, many local people in the slum areas and CDA sanitary workers were burning plastic or household waste for heating purposes during cold weather which was also increasing air pollution.
The CDA official clearly mentioned that the Authority’s staff was strictly warned to not burn waste whereas the public was encouraged to report it to concerned director for further action if found any staffer burning waste.