‘Air pollution caused highest death toll in 2015’

United Nations estimates that thousands have lost their lives because of particles in the air


News Desk November 07, 2018
PHOTO: EXPRESS

LAHORE:  

Pakistan suffered one of the highest death tolls in the world from air pollution in 2015; the United Nations (UN) estimates that thousands have lost their lives because of the high level of fine particles in the air.

This was revealed by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) during a workshop on Tuesday to validate key findings of evidence based geospatial research on smog emissions. The findings will be released later this month.

“We remain committed to supporting government efforts to help devise appropriate strategies to tackle smog in Pakistan,” FAO Representative in Pakistan Mina Dowlatchahi.

The findings of the study provide scientific evidence of the causes of smog and the relationship between the phenomenon and burning of crop residue. “The study will be instrumental in helping reduce the contribution of the agriculture sector in the formation of smog,” she explained.

Smog is one of the several forms of air pollution that can harm humans. It is normally a combination of several types of pollutants such as nitrogen oxides, sulphur oxides, aerosols, smoke or particulates with fog. Industrial and vehicular emissions, and forest and crop burning are some of the common sources of these pollutants.

However, formation of smog is not dependent solely on the presence or the increase of these pollutants; certain meteorological conditions help these pollutants become suspended in the lower atmosphere which forms a dense, visible layer.

This phenomenon engulfs several cities in Punjab, particularly Lahore, during winter and has evolved into a public health and economic emergency.

FAO is also carrying out water accounting in the Indus Basin using geospatial data and techniques. With more than 30 years of experience in development and use of geospatial databases, FAO helps countries implement appropriate solutions and assists government efforts to create sustainable food systems.

 

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