A recent report by IQAir AirVisual has revealed that six of Pakistan’s cities are among the 30 most polluted cities in the world.
Gujranwala and Faisalabad are included in the top five, ranking 3rd and 4th, respectively. They had average AQI levels of 105.3 and 104.6 for 2019.
The AQI is an index for reporting daily air quality. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, an AQI below 50 is considered good, while levels above 100 are deemed unhealthy.
The remaining cities in Pakistan included in the list are Lahore’s Raiwind at 8th, Lahore 12th, Muridke 27th, and Peshawar 37th.
The number one polluted city, according to the report, is Ghaziabad in India, followed by Hotan in China. Twenty-four of the 50 most polluted cities are in India.
The report says: “Until recently, there was no government monitoring in Pakistan. The data provided in this report comes from low-cost sensors operated by engaged individuals and non-governmental organisations.”
It adds that nearly 22% of premature deaths in Pakistan can be linked to air pollution.
Air pollution has emerged as the most pressing environmental health risk for the world, said the report’s authors. The WHO estimates around seven million premature deaths a year are cause by air pollution, while 92% of the world’s population breathes toxic air.