Amid persisting cold weather and high air pollution, Lahore, the capital of the Pakistani province of Punjab, recorded the city’s highest Air Quality Index (AQI) on Saturday at 615 near the US Consulate, categorised at ‘hazardous’ level.
Despite being sunny, Saturday’s overall air quality was dismal, while the entire week’s recordings showed unhealthy air quality levels that fell just below 200 and sometimes higher.
The Lahore Air Twitter account reported that there was an “airpocalypse” on Saturday, with an average of 540 was recorded across the city.
Environmental activists have pointed out that air pollution is discussed only when smog starts developing in the latter part of the year, which is a serious concern and the government and public should pay attention to this matter throughout the year.
According to the Pakistan Air Quality Initiative (PAQI), air pollution caused 59,241 deaths in Pakistan each year.
Lawyer and environmental activist Ahmed Rafay Alam highlighted that air quality reduced life expectancy in Pakistan, especially in cities, by an average of two years.
“In Lahore, life expectancy is cut short by five years…. This is just the outside air we breathe,” he said. In recent times, Lahore and Karachi have been counted among the world’s most polluted cities.