Cities' air quality index 'very unhealthy'
With the start of the new year, Pakistan has set new world records. The country has made it to the list of the top five most polluted countries in the world, according to data from IQAir.
Lahore and Karachi were ranked in the list of cities experiencing increasing air pollution.
“The air quality index of Karachi presently is 190 which is considered very unhealthy,” environmentalist Dr Amir said. The United States Environmental Protection Agency regards air quality as satisfactory when the AQI is under 50.
On Wednesday, the AQI revealed that particulate matter [hazardous particles] in Karachi’s air were 170, while Lahore’s was recorded at 150. Both these readings are very unhealthy.
Dr Amir pointed out that the country’s outdated transport system and increasing population were the two main reasons behind the increase in air pollution. “We have been using the same buses since 1950. The environment has changed but not the transport system,” he added.
Increasing deforestation and lack of greenery in cities are also major contributors to the air quality level.
Lahore was ranked the second most polluted city in the world in October 2019 when its AQI ranking shot to 328. Since then, the city of gardens has been regularly topping the AQI chart for its lowest air quality. Smog has become an annually recurring environmental threat in the provincial capital.
Smog is formed by a mixture of pollutants and water vapor in the atmosphere. It can cause health problems such as asthma, flu, coughing, allergies, bronchial infections, and heart problems.
Prolonged exposure to environmental pollution also results in shortened life expectancy. These risks may be reduced by wearing masks, managing gaseous vehicular emissions, using eco-friendly products, and reusing and recycling.