The air quality in Pakistan’s major urban centers has considerably deteriorated over the past five years. Lahore and other cities regularly feature in the list of the most polluted cities globally. According to data released by IQAir, a global environmental think tank, Lahore is the most polluted place in the world, with the city’s air quality index (AQI) standing at 372 on November 15, 2021. It is important to note that an AQI of between 100 and 150 poses a potential risk to children and people with heart and lung disease. An AQI of above 150 is unhealthy for everyone, while levels over 300 are classified as hazardous.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), air pollution is responsible for millions of deaths worldwide every year. The health body says its data shows that people in low and middle-income countries suffer the most because of their relatively high exposure to pollutants. In South Asia, the health of around 12 million children is at risk, as they’re exposed to air pollution that is six times the safe limit, said a UNICEF report. In Pakistan, one in 10 deaths in children under the age of five is caused by air pollution.