The Pakistani Air Quality Index (AQI) has improved significantly following the closure of factories and transportation during the closure to limit the spread of the novel corona virus.
In March Karachi AQI dropped from 117 to 69, Lahore from 195 to 51, Islamabad from 167 to 67 Peshawar from 194 to 87.
Air pollution is a global problem
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), nine out of ten people breathe polluted air, which kills seven million people annually. The deaths, in turn, cost the global economy billions of dollars in lost work.
While many countries in the world have significantly improved air quality, there is still a long way to go for other nations, including Pakistan, because air quality is not actively monitored.
Global Alliance on Health and Pollution (GAHP) data shows that an estimated 128,000 people die in Pakistan each year from diseases related to air pollution.
Why is it so important for health?
Air quality is the degree to which air is suitable or clean enough for people, animals and plants. It is influenced by the amount of particles (PM2.5) it contains, which refer to tiny particles made of copper, magnesium, lithium, nickel-cobalt, arsenic, selenium and zinc as well as complex gaseous aerosols. Because PM2.5 particles are tiny, they easily enter the bloodstream and cause respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. According to CERB, Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi had AQI values of 336 (dangerous), 159 (unhealthy) and 141 (unhealthy) in December 2018, which turned out to be an extremely unhealthy year-end.