Capital’s air quality healthy since January, 2021, Senate body told

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Staff Reporter

Director General Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency (Pak-EPA) Farzana Altaf Shah Monday told Senate Standing Committee on Climate Change that the air pollutant ratio since January, 2021 was calculated below permissible limits of National Environmental Quality Standards (NEQS).

The Committee meeting was chaired by Senator Muhammad Hamayun Mohmand. She apprised the forum that the most hazardous pollutant of particulate matter (PM2.5) was recorded 17.5 microgrammes per cubic meter which was far below the NEQS of 35 microgrammes per cubic meter.

She added that there were two main pollution sources in the Capital including industrial sector emissions and waste burning.

“There are eight steel furnaces in the industrial area of I-9 Sector that have installed dry scrubbers to reduce dark smoke,” she added.

The EPA DG informed that Aabpara, Mandi Mor and Motorway interchange were identified as hotspots where 30-40 trucks or heavy vehicles were challaned daily on higher emissions.

She underlined that after COVID-19 lockdown despite all sectors were full operational, the air quality was recorded healthy.

With Rs 46 million budget, Pak-EPA was ensuring all its equipment operational 24/7 whereas under its first project of Pollution Lower Assement Network four new and one existing monitoring station would be established.

“Under this we will be working on water shortage data in the federal capital to assess the future needs of the metropolis,” she added.

Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed suggested the EPA to develop its smart application for providing realtime air quality index (AQI) of the Capital.

Speaking on the occasion, Minister of State for Climate Change Zartaj Gul said the government had implemented plastic bags ban through standing committees of the Parliament at the federal level which would be followed in every environmental conservation endeavour.

She informed that all brick kilns in Punjab were converted over zigzag eco-friendly technology in record one year.

“We are trying to work out special media broadcast in local languages on climate change and food security awareness for public benefit,” she added.

Ms Gul also agreed to take up the issue of AQI application with National Information Technology Board (NITB) to develop a quality IT based solution.

Senator Sherry Rehman appreciated the minister of state for her strides and suggested to demand special 10-minute on air time for public guidance on climate change.

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