Citizens asked to avoid outdoor activities as federal capital’s pollution soars

ISLAMABAD: The air quality of the federal capital on Sunday was unhealthy as hazardous pollutants were recorded beyond permissible limits where the health experts warned citizens to avoid prolonged outdoor exertion.
The air quality in the metropolis was unhealthy for people belonging to sensitive groups particularity lungs and heart disease patients, older people, children and teenagers as air pollutant ratio was recorded beyond safer limits.
Health experts advised citizens belonging to sensitive groups to wear face masks or coverings, avoid unnecessary prolonged exertion outdoors and immediately contact health physician or doctor in case of serious respiratory issue.
The latest data 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 higher than safer limits.
The PM2.5 not only exceeded 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 PM2.5 was recorded 53.14 micrograms per cubic meter whereas sulphur dioxide was recorded 34.73 micrograms per meter cube and nitrogen dioxide was 25.36 against the NEQS of 120 micrograms per meter cube and 80 micrograms per meter cube respectively.
The Pak-EPA has also recorded worst polluted days in the federal capital as hazardous ambient air pollutants were above the safe limits of NEQS during the month of November.
The EPA official told APP that due to the onset of dry winter season and delayed rainfall the air quality was recorded unhealthy due to large quantity of particulate matter of 2.5 microns above the NEQS limit of 35 micrograms per meter cube and also WHO standards of 20 micrograms per meter cube.
She added that it was the calculating limit of air pollutants into the atmosphere where PM2.5 was the most health damaging environmental pollutant causing respiratory chronic diseases, premature deaths as it could easily penetrate into human blood through lungs cells.
She said average ratio of PM 2.5 recorded was 39.9 micrograms per meter whereas sulphur dioxide was recorded 38.35 micrograms per meter cube and nitrogen dioxide was 31.49 against the NEQS of 120 micrograms per meter cube and 80 micrograms per meter cube respectively during November.
To a question, she said the sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide were released from industrial emissions and car engines at different concentrations that accumulate into the ambience causing air pollution. - APP