In a bid to bring down the Air Quality Index (AQI) of the provincial metropolis, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has decided to adopt a new formula to calculate AQI, which will show around 25 per cent less figures.


This decision was taken after all the short-term measures taken by the Punjab government failed to improve AQI of the city; sources said adding the main reason behind increased AQI of the city was inability of the EPA to shut down the industries, which used sub-standard fuel to run their factories late night.

Sources further said that movement of heavy traffic, ongoing construction of mega projects in three different corners of the city and non-serious action against smoke-emitting vehicles were the other reasons due to which the AQI was not improving. Dr Amir Farooq, focal person of EPA, said that the official AQI figures being shared with the media on daily basis were not correct. He admitted that a new formula was adopted to calculate the figures and from Thursday (today) the media will get ‘accurate’ figures of AQI. Over a question about hidden operation of industries in night, he said the department has capacity issues and can’t check each and every industry. He said that’s why the govt has involved PDMA, District Govt and police to carry out operation against the industries violating the smog SOPs.

On the other hand, as a thick layer of fog engulfed the city on Wednesday, the provincial capital remained on the first position among the top five cities of the world with worst air quality. A per the IQAir, the top five cities with worst air quality are Lahore (Pakistan), Hanoi (Vietnam), Delhi (India), Kolkata (India) and Dhaka (Bangladesh) respectively.

According to the official data of EPA released on Wednesday, the air quality in Lahore on Wednesday morning at DHA was 420, at Hockey Stadium, Gulberg it was 401, at Township it was 229 and at Town Hall it was 200. Environmentalists said the Punjab govt should take immediate measures to save the citizens from the hazardous effects of air pollution and smog. They recommended an immediate closure of schools and colleges besides imposing a complete ban on smoke-emitting vehicles.

They claimed that all the short-term measures taken by the govt didn’t bring down the AQI while Met office also predicted that no rain will occur in the city in near future. They suggested that the govt should impose a week-long lockdown to bring down the AQI. On the other hand, Met officials said that a westerly wave was present over upper parts of the country and may persist till tonight. They predicted that cold and dry weather was expected in most parts while very cold in Gilgit-Baltistan, Kashmir, upper Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and districts of north Balochistan. Dense smog/fog was likely in plain areas of Punjab during night/morning.

Rainfall was witnessed at several cities, including Muzaffarabad, Garhi Dupatta, Rawalakot, Malam Jabba, Balakot, Dir, Kalam, Pattan, Kakul, Mir Khani and Saidu Sharif while snowfall was recorded at Malam Jabba and Kalam. Wednesday’s minimum temperature was recorded at Leh where mercury dropped to -12°C while in Lahore, it was 4.6°C and maximum was 19.5°C.

Source: The News