ISLAMABAD: Spring is here, and its time to take out the face masks.
Pollen count in the air has been steadily rising and poses a threat to people with allergies. The count is likely to rise to its peak in March in the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad.
According to the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) monitors, pollen is airborne in Islamabad throughout the year.
“The monitoring is meant help people who suffer from asthma and other respiratory diseases and complications arising due to the sharp increase in pollen concentrations,” an official of the PMD said.
The PMD has installed pollen monitoring units in sectors H-8, E-8, F-10 and G-6, he said, adding that they monitor concentrations of pollen during the spring season.
The official explained that pollen concentration increases gradually with the onset of spring season and attains its peak around mid-March.
The most abundant pollen types in Islamabad are from eight trees including Paper Mulberry, Acacia, Eucalyptus, Pines, grass, Cannabis, Dandelion and Alternaria.
Out of these plants, Paper Mulberry shares about 97 per cent of the total pollen and its concentration touches the extreme limits of about 40,000 per cubic meter of air at the peak of blossoming.
PMD said it would update pollen count on a daily basis on its website as well as through various media till the season ends in mid-April.
On Saturday, the PMD recorded a pollen count of 86 per meter cube. Among these, the highest concentration was of grasses followed by Alternaria.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 26th, 2017.