It said that levels of the dangerous particulates known as PM2.5, small enough to penetrate deep into the lungs and enter the bloodstream, had reached 1,077 micrograms per cubic meter — more than 30 times what Pakistan’s government considers the safe limit.“You can see and smell the smoke all day; you can actually touch the filth,” said Amna Manan, a 26-year-old manager for a multinational company in Lahore, a city of 11 million.
“Half the time, I’m scared to breathe in.”While Delhi’s air quality has generated headlines worldwide in recent days, experts say the air in Lahore rivals the Indian capital’s for toxicity.
In the absence of official information, some Pakistanis have taken matters into their own hands. Omar, who installed air monitors in Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar and Karachi, where he lives.
He has set up Twitter accounts to post the readings in real time. Omar was inspired by his experience living in Beijing, where the American Embassy changed the debate about pollution years ago by publishing air-quality readings on Twitter.
LAHORE, Pakistan — For nearly two weeks, Lahore, Pakistan’s second-largest city, has been like one huge airport smokers’ lounge.
But Abid Omar’s jaw still dropped on Wednesday, when he checked the air-quality monitor he had installed to track the city’s appalling pollution.Europe is contributing to environmental pressures and accelerating feedbacks in other parts of the world through its dependence on fossil fuels, mining products and other imports.Conversely, in a highly interdependent world, changes in other parts of the world are increasingly felt closer to home, both directly through the impacts of global environmental changes, or indirectly through intensified socio-economic pressures ( 1 ) ( 2 ). Most of the growth in global greenhouse gas emissions is projected to occur outside Europe, as a result of increasing wealth in populous emerging economies.Loss of biodiversity in other regions of the world affects European interests in several ways.It is the world’s poor that bear the brunt of biodiversity loss, as they are usually most directly reliant on functioning ecosystem services ( 14 ).Increases in poverty and inequality are likely to further fuel conflict and instability in regions that are already characterised by often fragile governance structures.Moreover, reduced genetic variety in crops and cultivars implies future losses of economic and social benefits for Europe in such critical areas as food production and modern healthcare ( 15 ).Major highways have been intermittently closed because of the visibility problems.Thirteen power plants that run on fuel oil have been shut down since last weekend, and power generation has been cut back at four others, leading to daily outages of more than 12 hours in many urban areas.He said the department was “closely monitoring the situation,” but as of Thursday it was still not releasing air-quality numbers.“This is a crisis of data,” said Ahmad Rafay Alam, an environmental lawyer and activist in Lahore.He said six meters were insufficient for a city the size of Lahore, let alone for all of Punjab.