Capital’s air quality makes hat-trick of healthy days

ISLAMABAD: The air quality of the federal capital has remained healthy for consecutive three days amid strong spell of rain that lashed the region since Sunday where the metropolis’ ambiance had remained unhealthy for sensitive masses during past dry weather.

The recent air quality data by Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency (Pak-EPA) reported record decline in hazardous pollutant tainting the atmosphere below permissible limits, an official of EPA told reporter.

The Pak-EPA daily air quality report recorded particulate matter of less than 2.5 microns (PM2.5), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and sulphur dioxide (SO2), temperature and humidity in the air.

The health hazardous pollutant PM 2.5 was responsible for causing premature deaths, chronic respiratory diseases and other health complications globally.

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 ambiance, causing air pollution.

The report noted that the 24 hours average concentrations of parameters namely NO2, SO2 and concentration of PM2.5 were within the permissible limits of National Environmental Quality Standards (NEQS).

The pollutants’ 24 hours average ratio of PM2.5 was also below the World Health Organization (WHO) environmental quality standards of 25 micrograms per cubic meter.

PM2.5 was recorded at 10.04 micrograms per cubic metre in Islamabad, which is much lower than the National Environmental Quality Standards (NEQS) of 35 micrograms and the World Health Organization (WHO) standard of 25 micrograms per cubic metre.

The air quality data revealed the presence of 15.6 micrograms of sulphur dioxide and 10.6 micrograms of nitrogen dioxide per cubic metre against the NEQS of 120 micrograms and 80 micrograms per cubic meter, respectively. According to the EPA official, prevailing dry weather and increased vehicular emissions were the main reasons for the bad air quality.

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.

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.