Karachi’s AFOHS air quality suffers because of Baloch Colony flyover

Garbage burning, factory emissions and traffic are degrading the air quality for the residential Air Force Officers Housing Society in Karachi, which is suffering because of its unique location.

Researchers from the University of Karachi, University at Albany, New York State Department of Health and Hamad bin Khalifa University, Qatar published their findings in the International Journal for Economic Environmental Geology studied the air around that site.

Researchers chose AFOHS because it is located at the junction of industrial and residential areas of Korangi. “Although the site AFOHS is well managed and a planned residential society it is located at the Baloch colony flyover cache which increases the effect of vehicular emissions in atmospheric aerosols due to high traffic density,” they wrote. It is also located close to Korangi, which has roughly 2,000 factories.

They took 26 samples for two months (December 2012 and January 2013) to measure PM2.5. And while this study’s timeframe is old, we can assume the air quality has either stayed the same or deteriorated since then given that the number of vehicles has only gone up in Karachi.

The team took two samples each, on weekends and weekdays. Samples were analyzed for the mass and chemical composition of PM2.5 and black carbon.

They found that PM2.5 levels were high and ranged from 64.9 to 245μg/m3. The average was 112g/m3 which is six times higher than WHO guidelines of 25 μg/m3. There were higher concentrations of atmospheric aerosols on weekends because a huge dumping site is located near AFOHS where garbage is burned on weekends. Traffic and factory emissions cause high PM2.5concentrations during weekdays.

Particular matter in the air measuring 2.5 (PM2.5) can be breathed in and enter the respiratory system, which is why it is dangerous. It causes chronic health problems for the ear, nose and throat and lungs and even heart, which experts have been warning about world over.
Air pollution also affects visibility and can change weather. If you have elevated average values of coarse (161μg/m3) and fine (81.8μg/m3) particles in the air they affect humidity and temperatures.