Maintaining its position on the list of world’s most polluted cities, Lahore once again found itself taking the top slot on Thursday morning, followed by Indian capital New Delhi ranking as the city with the second most polluted air.
According to IQAir, a Swiss air quality monitor, Lahore had the highest level of pollution in its air in the world on Thursday morning, which was categorized as ‘Unhealthy’ with its air quality index measured at 180.
The PM2.5 (particulate matter) concentration in the capital city of Punjab was recorded 22.5 times higher than the World Health Organisation's annual air quality guideline value.
PM2.5 refers to fine particulate matter with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers. The term is employed to characterize the levels of particles in both outdoor and indoor environments.
The air quality of Lahore has consistently remained unhealthy, not just over the past couple of months, but also in the last few years with the onset of the ‘fifth season’ of smog. The air quality levels continue to dip after September until at least February.
In view of the worsening air quality of the city and to combat the alarming levels of smog and air pollution, the administration has decided to shut down schools, markets, and government and private institutions every Wednesday for the next two months at least.
School administrations have been directed to ensure that staff members work from home on Wednesdays, allowing for a smoother transition to the new schedule. Banks, private institutions, clubs, and hotels are also expected to adhere to the Wednesday shutdown.
According to the IQAir data, the second most polluted city in the world was New Delhi, India, close on the heels of Lahore with an air quality index of 179 (Unhealthy).
Bangladesh capital Dhaka followed on the third spot with its air quality index recorded at 167 on Thursday morning.