Air Quality record healthy in federal capital since March

ISLAMABAD: The air quality of the federal capital on Monday was recorded healthy as atmospheric pollutants were recorded below permissible ratios amid cloudy weather and gusty winds helping in keeping the environ clean and healthy.

A Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency (Pak-EPA) official told reporter that the eight hours average ratio of particulate matter of 2.5 microns (PM2.5) was recorded below permissible limits of 35 micrograms per cubic meter. PM2.5 was recorded at 15.3 micrograms per cubic metre in Islamabad, which is much lower than the National Environmental Quality Standards (NEQS) of 35 micrograms and the World Health Organisation (WHO) standard of 20 micrograms per cubic metre. The air quality data revealed the presence of 16.9 micrograms of sulphur dioxide and 12.8 micrograms of nitrogen dioxide per cubic metre against the NEQS of 120 micrograms and 80 micrograms per cubic metre, respectively.

According to the EPA official, dry weather and increased vehicular emissions were the main reasons for the bad air quality. It is the most health-damaging environmental pollutant causing chronic respiratory diseases and premature deaths as it could easily penetrate human blood through lungs cells, she added.

The official further stated that sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide were released from industrial emissions and car engines at different concentrations that accumulated into the ambience, causing air pollution. She mentioned that the capital’s air quality was commendable during the lockdown as vehicular emissions had drastically reduced.

The main reason for air pollution was a large number of vehicles on the roads emitting combustion gases, she added. “Since past week’s Wednesday morning the federal capital has witnessed clearing in the sky with eye-soothing sunny day as the gusty winds helped in blowing away dust particles, dark smoke spewed from the chimneys of incinerators, construction machinery and automobiles, ” the official informed.

The official maintained that the EPA regularly monitored the Capital’s air quality, which was found to be unhealthy during dry weather, storm or pre-rain like situation.

Spokesperson Pakistan Meteorological Department Dr Khalid Malik said that the gusty winds in the twin cities were mainly blowing due to pressure gradient persisting in the Northern Areas of the country which were assisting in keeping the environment dark pollutants and smoke free.

“These winds have played a key role in reducing the presence of pollutants in the atmosphere and will persist for the next two days, ” he added.