An agriculture official said on Tuesday that air pollution is seriously damaging seasonal crops.
Addressing a conference titled ‘Parliamentary Role in Meeting the Clean Air Challenge’, organised by Clean Air Asia in Islamabad, the additional secretary of the ministry climate change, Babar Hayat Tarar, informed the parliamentarians present that air pollution is already causing a decline in wheat productivity in three strands.
During the conference, Adviser to the Prime Minister for Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam also criticised the non-calibrated air quality data provided by private sources and faulty satellite imagery depicting Pakistan as the second most polluted country in the world with alarming ratios of serious air pollutants.
Ali Touqeer Sheikh of Lead Pakistan spoke about how vehicular emissions are the worst offenders when it comes to causing air pollution. “70% of air pollution is because of transportation emissions,” he explained. He said we need compatible data from different sectors.
“We need a National Action Plan on air quality and health,” said Shiekh. “We need shared, joint, usable data to start and until we get expensive reference standard equipment, let’s use low-cost monitoring devices.”
“Pakistan is at the frontline of climate change and we need to amplify the message that if we don’t act, we will have a world which will not be livable,” said Senator Sherry Rehman.
“Air quality in Pakistan is a public health emergency. We really need to understand that this is not a first-world abstraction. Air pollution is a bigger killer than terrorism. We need to pay attention to it and scale up our ability to measure it, adapt to it and reduce emissions,” she added.
She also remarked that air pollution impacts women, children, pregnant women and other vulnerable segments of society.
Aslam discussed the National Clean Air Policy and committed that he would do better regarding the issue of air pollution. He also announced that the World Bank would be helping finance and implement the clean air project.