IQAir Group and Greenpeace have published a joint report titled ‘World Air Quality 2019’ and it is not encouraging where Pakistan is concerned regarding the exposure to fine particulate matter.
World Air Quality Index has placed Pakistan at 2nd place for PM2.5 exposure while Bangladesh tops the chart.
Mongolia, Afghanistan, and India occupy the top 5 spots for the most polluted countries along with Bangladesh and Pakistan.
World Air Quality Index has placed Germany at 74th, the UK at 78th, the US at 87th, Australia at 89th, and Canada at 90th position.
IQAir Group and Greenpeace have collected data from thousands of PM 2.5 monitoring stations around the globe.
To compile the Air Quality Index, the environmental agencies compare the readings with the WHO’s air quality guideline value for PM2.5 and US air quality index (AQI).
While WHO has warned that no exposure to PM 2.5 is safe for human health, it believes that annual exposure to less 10µg/m³ of PM 2.5 can somewhat minimize its consequences.
On the other hand, US AQI uses a colored scale of 0-500 to provide information about the air quality of any place. A higher number indicates poor air quality.
About PM 2.5
PM 2.5 refers to atmospheric particles that have a diameter less than 2.5 micrometers and can only be viewed through an electron microscope.
Emissions from power plants, combustion engines, stubble burning, volcanic eruptions, and dust storms are the primary sources of PM 2.5 particles.
Since PM 2.5 particles are extremely lightweight, they tend to hang in the air longer than other heavier particles.
As a result, human beings are more susceptible to inhaling these particles through the nose and throat. Numerous studies have confirmed that these particles penetrate deep into the lungs and circulatory system causing diseases from cancer to stroke and from cardiovascular diseases to acute respiratory infections.
Annually, approximately 7 million die prematurely after contracting a disease from exposure to PM 2.5.
Whereas, nearly 22% of premature deaths in Pakistan are linked to excessive exposure to PM 2.5.
Access the complete report at IQAir.