By Ajmal Khan Yousafzai
ISLAMABAD: The federal capital under intermittent clouds hovering over the Margallas embraced one of the cleanest and healthiest day of the year on Friday as the air pollutant ratio dropped to the lowest level after Thursdayâ€™s hailstorm.
A Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency (Pak-EPA) stated that the air pollutant ratio of hazardous ambient particle was recorded below 25ug/m3 (microgrammes per cubic meter or parameter to guage the air pollutant presence in the atmosphere).
The particulate matter of 2.5 microns or PM2.5 was recorded higher in the federal capitalâ€™s air since January due to the prevailing dry weather whereas the present day reading was surprisingly the lowest ratio ever recorded, he 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.
He 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 capitalâ€™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.
A monthly data projection of air quality, for March, 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 throughout the month expect for four days with higher than permissible ratio. 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 21.68 micrograms per cubic meter whereas sulphur dioxide was recorded 22.35 micrograms per meter cube and nitrogen dioxide was 15.78 against the NEQS of 120 micrograms per meter cube and 80 micrograms per meter cube respectively. 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.
It may be mentioned that PM2.5 was generated during combustion of waste either industrial, human or vehicular emissions from its engine.