Pakistan’s cultural capital Lahore has once again topped the list of world’s most polluted cities.
“Lahore ranks the most polluted city in the world,” according to air pollution data released by the US Air Quality Index on Monday.
According to the index, Lahore reported a particulate matter (PM) rating of 423. Pakistan’s financial capital Karachi ranked at 7 on the AQI. New Delhi came in second with a PM of 229, while Nepal’s capital Kathmandu ranked the third-worst city with a PM of 178.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency regards air quality satisfactory if the AQI is under 50. Lahore’s AQI fell in the range of 301 and higher, which has been classified as “hazardous”.
According to environmental experts and an earlier report by the Food and Agriculture Organisation, air pollution in Lahore is caused by a combination of vehicle and industrial emissions, smoke from brick kilns, the burning of crop residue and general waste, and dust from construction sites. Other factors of air pollution include large scale losses of trees to build new roads and buildings.
Winter air pollution is worse due to temperature inversion, which results in a layer of warm air that is prevented from rising trapping air pollutants.
Brick kilns were shut down on November 7 till December 31. Even as the government claims to be cracking down on kilns, several of them were still operating, some even overnight.