The prevailing dry weather, coupled with increased humidity and vehicular emissions, have turned the federal capital's air quality unhealthy as an increased ratio of hazardous pollutants was recorded since November.
According to the Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) air quality data, a high value of particulate matter was recorded — at 2.5 microns (PM2.5), which not only exceeded the National Environmental Quality Standards (NEQS) of 35 micrograms per meter cube (mg/m³) but also the World Health Organization's (WHO) fine PM2.5 24-hour mean of 20mg/m³.
The PM2.5 pollution level further exceeded the permissible ratio of 35mg/m³, which was recorded at 71.35 mg/m³ — the highest-ever in the federal capital.
In its report, the WHO had claimed air pollution caused a huge number of premature deaths. PM2.5 was found to be a hazardous pollutant that could penetrate human blood through lungs cells.
According to the Pakistan EPA's daily ambient air quality report of Islamabad, the 24-hour average ratio of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and sulphur dioxide (SO2) were 44.21mg/m³ and 51.70mg/m³, respectively, against the NEQS' 80mg/m³ and 120mg/m³. The data was recorded by calibrated air quality monitors fixed at particular positions with proper readings.
However, the PM2.5 concentrations during the day and evening times were recorded to be slightly high, whereas the federal capital's overall ambient air quality was not healthier today.
Any other data from any source presenting ambient air quality of Islamabad was neither verified nor approved by the Pakistan EPA, the report said.