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April 13, 2022

Pakistan’s Rising Air Pollution Prompts Concern

According to the AQLI, ​​Pakistan ranks as the world’s fourth most polluted country.
Myra Khalid

99 percent of the world’s population now lives in areas with dangerous levels of air pollution according to the World Health Organization’s new findings released prior to World Health Day. The data was evaluated using WHO’s 2021 guidelines that use more stringent criteria.

The pollutants known as PM2.5 and PM10 and nitrogen dioxide are released into the air from the burning of fossil fuels. According to the Air Quality Life Index released by the University of Chicago, ​​Pakistan ranks as the world’s fourth most polluted country with 99 percent of its population living in areas where levels of pollution exceed even Pakistan’s own air quality standard.

While cities in Punjab fare the worst, estimates suggest that even Karachi residents will end up gaining 3.6 years in life expectancy if particulate pollution is brought down to WHO recommended levels.

As reported by Dawn, PMA secretary general Dr Qaiser Sajjad expressed concern over the recent data and said that air pollution is a major problem contributing to one in 10 deaths in children under the age of five in Pakistan.

Toxic fumes from factories, vehicles, generators and burning of waste are the major culprits.

“Many people don’t know that the generators they are running without filters in hours of load-shedding are not only creating noise pollution, but also contaminating the air,” he added.

The Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) urged the government and private sector entities to take steps to deal with this major public health challenge by curbing the rising levels of air pollution.

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