Virtual lockdown shows decline in air pollution

APP
April 06, 2020

Islamabad : The federal capital on March 25 observed a virtual lockdown, to contain the risk of Coronavirus pandemic outbreak that resulted in drastic decline in air pollution since the closure of...

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Islamabad : The federal capital on March 25 observed a virtual lockdown, to contain the risk of Coronavirus pandemic outbreak that resulted in drastic decline in air pollution since the closure of traffic and public mobility in the metropolis.

Deputy Director Labs Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Dr Mohsina Zubair told this agency that increased number of vehicles entering into the federal capital was the major source of air pollution.

The large bus fleets of public private offices, schools, colleges and universities are one of the major causes of increased harmful air pollutants in the air.

The air quality in the federal capital for consecutive six days since past Friday was healthy as the ambient pollutants were below the permissible limits, she added.

It has been for the first time in the metropolis that air pollution has reduced to such a low level. However, in the end of last year particulate matter of 2.5 microns that is very hazardous for human health has been recorded above 92 micrograms per meter cube (ug/m3) that is the highest ever ratio, Dr Mohsina said.

She added that as per EPA daily air quality report, the hazardous environmental pollutant of 2.5 microns (PM2.5) was below the permissible limits of National Environmental Quality Standards (NEQS).

Dr Mohsina informed that PM2.5 ratio also dropped to a single digit value of 4ug/m3 during the day time as most of the schools, universities colleges and offices were shutdown and very miniscule traffic was seen on the roads.

The PM2.5 ratio in air was recorded 16.17 ug/m3 whereas the NEQS allows 35ug/m3 presence in the atmosphere.

However, PM2.5 was also below the World Health Organization (WHO) 24 hours mean of 20 micrograms per meter cube that was recorded for the first in the federal capital’s ambient air quality history.

To a question, she said the EPA staff was divided into two groups to run the office business with minimum human resources engagement to contain the spread of coronavirus pandemic.



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