Air Pollution in Pakistan is a public health emergency: WHO

News Desk

The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that air pollution in Pakistan has become a public health emergency. 

According to the WHO, over 4 million people around the world succumb to air pollution related diseases annually due to the toxic air quality levels that go beyond the standards outlined by WHO.

The report says that countries in Asia including China, Bangladesh, India and Pakistan are highly affected by air pollution.

China has made some improvement by tackling air pollution but Pakistan, India and Bangladesh have experienced a sharp increase in air pollution since 2010. This has been most evident in Lahore where the smog has become a yearly occurrence.

A research report by the reputed medical journal Lancet claims that approximately 22% of deaths in Pakistan can now be attributed to air pollution.

22% of deaths in Pakistan can now be attributed to air pollution.


Data from Pakistan Air Quality, an organization that monitors the air in several major cities in Pakistan, shows that 2018 ended with extremely unhealthy and hazardous air conditions in all major cities. 

Smog in Lahore is the clearest and worst example of this where air quality is 5 times worse than the healthy limit.

Air quality in Lahore is 5 times worse than the healthy limit.

World Health Organization

Lahore’s air pollution can be attributed to overpopulation, and the rapid expansion of urban settlements, as well as the nearby industrial zones. The situation is so drastic now that the air is barely breathable.

The Air Quality Index (AQI) of major cities, published by Pakistan Air Quality, for December 2018 is listed below.

  • Gujranwala has the worst air quality with an AQI of 397, categorized as hazardous.
  • Lahore is equally bad with an AQI of 336, which is also hazardous.
  • Faisalabad is ranked third with an AQI of 325, which is hazardous.
  • Bahawalpur has the fourth worst air quality with an AQI of 214, categorized as very unhealthy.
  • Peshawar has an AQI of 183, which is categorized as unhealthy.
  • Rawalpindi also had an AQI of 183, which is unhealthy.
  • Islamabad ranked seventh with an AQI of 159, which is unhealthy.
  • Karachi ranked eighth with an AQI of 141 and its health impact is also listed as unhealthy.

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