Lahore, Karachi among 10 most polluted cities worldwide

Smog is a form of severe air pollution, when air quality changes drastically

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Nasir Aslam

Islamabad

WWF-Pakistan held its seventh Annual Green Office Conference in Islamabad. The theme of this year’s conference was air pollution, with particular focus on the growing issue of smog.

The aim of the event was to turn the tide and establish a consensus between relevant public and private sectors on the roles, responsibilities and actions needed to improve air quality.

The one-day event was attended by corporate partners, public sector leaders, academia, and industry practitioners from across Pakistan.

Hammad Naqi Khan, Director General, WWF- Pakistan while welcoming the participants said, “Lahore and Karachi are among the 10 most polluted cities in the world in terms of air quality, according to air quality monitor AirVisual.

The ranking today puts Lahore at the top of the list, and urgent action needs to be taken to tackle this issue.

Air pollution caused by traffic, industries, crop burning and burning of solid waste are major contributors of smog and the layer of smog is expected to thicken in the coming days. Urban air pollution in Pakistan is among the world’s most severe, significantly damaging human health, quality of life, economy and the environment.” Following Khan’s address, Lauri Myllyvytra, Energy and Air Pollution Analyst, Green Peace, shared his research on the prevalent air quality of Pakistan’s leading cities.

He also gave an insight to the actions and framework followed by countries such as China, the USA and some countries from the European Union, in tackling the issue of smog. Ms. Syeda Malika, Director-General, Environmental Protection Department (EPD), elaborated on the current smog policy and shared highlights from the Punjab Clean Air Action Plan. While presenting Malika said, “Smog is a form of severe air pollution, when air quality changes drastically.

The EPD records the Air Quality Index every day and takes stern actions against violators. Industrial units, brick kilns or any unit found polluting the air is sealed unless it has air pollution control systems installed. Solid waste and crop stubble burning is banned and FIRs are registered against the violators. So far, the EPD has installed air quality monitors in Multan, Gujranwala, Faisalabad, and Lahore.

As brick kilns are a big contributor to air pollution, the working dynamics and benefits of zig-zag technology which aims to decrease pollution were presented by Dr Faiza Sharif, Associate Professor, and Government College University.  Abid Omar, Founder, Pakistan Air Quality Initiative, briefed participants about quantitative analysis of emissions and the negative impacts smog has on human health.