Ar quality remains ideal, healthy throughout April

ISLAMABAD:The air quality in the federal capital was recorded healthy throughout the outgoing month of April as air pollutant ratio was recorded below safer limits.

The air pollution was also less than April, 2020 during which lock down was imposed across the Capital amid Covid-19 pandemic rise.

A monthly data projection of air quality, for April, 2021, released by Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency (Pak-EPA), the particulate of 2.5 (PM2.5) microns which was a hazardous ambient air pollutant causing chronic respiratory diseases and premature deaths was recorded lower than permissible limits.

The PM2.5 was not only below National Environmental Quality Standards (NEQS) of 35 micrograms per cubic meter rather World Health Organization (WHO) standard of 20 micrograms per cubic meter.

The air quality data revealed that average PM2.5 was recorded 16.32 micrograms per cubic meter whereas sulphur dioxide was recorded 21.21 micrograms per meter cube and nitrogen dioxide was 15.5 against the NEQS of 120 micrograms per meter cube and 80 micrograms per meter cube respectively.

However, the air quality data of April 2020 revealed that average PM2.5 was recorded 17.67 micrograms per cubic meter whereas sulphur dioxide was recorded 13.29 micrograms per meter cube and nitrogen dioxide was 10.13 against the NEQS of 120 micrograms per meter cube and 80 micrograms per meter cube respectively.

An EPA official told reporter that there was drop in air pollutant ratio which was not only due to intermittent rainspells during April as this time offices, transport construction and Industrial sector were opened.

She added that the educational institutions including school and universities have remained closed that helped in reducing pollution.

“The large bus fleets of universities and schools are also emitting dark smoke that cause pollution whereas offices have been working on fifty percent this has also helped in limited mobility of vehicles in the federal capital,” she added.

The official said the air quality was mainly poor due to increased vehicular emissions, garbage or waste burning, industrial emissions and also the dry weather that generates more atmospheric pollutants.

She added that apart from the pleasant weather that turned the air quality healthy, the Pak-EPA staff made extensive efforts to contain air pollution.

The field staff was making regular visits to industrial units in the federal capital for inspecting emissions level despite the pandemic outbreak, the Pak-EPA official said.

He said public cooperation and participation in keeping the federal capital’s air clean and healthy was imperative as the environmental watchdog alone was unable to ensure complaince of environmental laws.

However, despite limited staff the Pak-EPA team had ensured not only compliance rather assisted industrial units to switch over eco-friendly technology.

The air quality data was recorded through calibrated air quality monitors that were both fixed and mobile hence providing accurate air quality data. No other data from any private sources was verified by Pak-EPA.