Environment: Carbon level in air ‘five times WHO standard’

Published: May 17, 2011
Air quality 
monitoring website to expand pollutants it measures.

Air quality monitoring website to expand pollutants it measures.


The team behind the launch of a website monitoring air pollution levels in the city say they are looking to install panels that will detect the concentration of black carbon in the atmosphere.

The Volunteer Internet-based Environment Watch (VIEW) website was officially launched at a ceremony at the Lahore University of Management Sciences on Monday. The website carries automatically updated data from solar-powered sensors at seven locations in Lahore that measure the levels of carbon monoxide and ozone in the air. It was set up with funds donated by the Environmental Protection Department.

Dr Jahangir Ikram, a professor at the mechanical engineering department who heads a team of four Lums students and one UET Taxila student that set up the website, told The Express Tribune that they would submit a proposal to the EPD in June seeking funds to import the equipment needed to develop sensors that will measure levels of carbon dust and other fine particulate matter in the air.

Dr Ikram said that when the team was setting up the sensors, they learnt from the Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) that the concentration of carbon in the atmosphere in Lahore at some places was as high as 200 parts per million, well above the World Health Organisation’s maximum acceptable level of 40 ppm.

“Black carbon is one of the most hazardous pollutants,” said Dr Ikram. “The particles are so tiny they pass into the lungs and can cause various types of cancer.”

Unfit motor vehicle engines are the main source of carbon pollution in the atmosphere.

Aamer Tahir, a Lums student who worked on the project, said that they would soon import sensors from Switzerland that would enable them to also accurately measure the levels of sulphur and nitrogen oxides more accurately.

They admitted that there were certain glitches on the website, adding that they would be addressed as soon as possible.

The EPD in September 2008 provided Lums with Rs3.6 million for the project. EPD secretary Sajjad Saleem Hotiana said the department had provided a total of Rs175 million to Lums and eight other universities for projects involving alternative energy. He also gave suggestions to the software team on how to make the website more user-friendly.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 17th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (6)

  • MindlessGenius
    May 17, 2011 - 10:39AM

    Its been a very special move from students to make Pakistan as green as it appears in the Flag. But in my opinion what country really needs in this time of trial, to install Social Evil Sensors (SES) powered not-by bureaucracy, autocracy and foreign aid.Recommend

  • May 17, 2011 - 1:11PM

    The need of time is to follow these issues and create awareness on such issues in Pakistan without space of a breath…Quality Journalism Recommend

  • Tamoor
    May 17, 2011 - 7:23PM


  • Zubair
    May 18, 2011 - 4:34PM

    Awww alarming levels! Being a science student i must say that even a little increased increment in C levels will effect the thinking capabilities of our people. No body cares for how nervous system is effected by inhaling all these. Scary!Recommend

  • red hat
    May 18, 2011 - 5:36PM

    Well Done LUMS!

    just 3.6m given to lums out of a total of 180million given to 8 other universities.

    I think they should give much more to lums as it proved it is not going in peoples pockets but they did something with that money.

    Have no clue what happened with the Rs 176 million, but I fear a lot of it has gone into corruption.Recommend

  • asif
    May 18, 2011 - 7:07PM

    dr jehangir ikram is from Department of ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING AT LUMS, there is no mechanical engineering department in lumsRecommend

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