TSP count rises alarmingly in Lahore, Islamabad, Pindi


ISLAMABAD – With ‘Total Suspended Particles’ in the air in Lahore, Islamabad and Rawalpindi exceeding the WHO standard by 4.4 to 7.5, the Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency (Pak-EPA) has failed to maintain air quality control, revealed by the agency’s report.
The study was conducted in three cities during the last three months but the results were disappointing. An official in EPA told Pakistan Today that few days back a meeting was also held to review the report and discuss the alarming situation that has arisen. TSP are tiny airborne particles that are less than 100 micrometers and are collectively referred to as total suspended particulate matter (TSP).
These particles constantly enter the atmosphere from many sources like vehicle emission, industrial processes, power generation, pollen and salt particles. Shakeel Ahmed Ramay, head of Climate Change Study Centre while talking to Pakistan Today said these particles were the cause of major respiratory diseases. Talking about the reasons of failure to control them he said that many things were involved such as lack of ownership, bad governance, politics within environment agencies and corruption.
“Everyone can easily see a large number of industrial units and brick kilns in and around the residential areas of capital but the Ministry of Environment, Pak-EPA and Capital Development Authority (CDA) are not ready to take any action against them,” he lamented. When contacted, Dr Shareef Astori, spokesperson, Polyclinic Hospital said that such particles entered the windpipe and lungs, where some particulates, known as inhalable particulates, cling to protective mucous and were removed.
Other mechanisms, such as coughing, also filter out or remove particles. Collectively, these “pulmonary clearance” mechanisms protect the lungs from the majority of inhalable particles. He said that some of the smallest particles enter the lungs capillaries and cause the slowing down the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood, resulting in shortness of breath and causing a strain on the heart because it must work harder to compensate for oxygen loss.
“The people most sensitive to these conditions include those with heart problems or respiratory diseases like emphysema, bronchitis and asthma,” he said. Director General Pak-EPA Asadullah Faiz told Pakistan Today that an innovative project “Environmental Monitoring System – EMS” has been implemented by Pakistan Environmental protection agency. One of the major objectives of this project is to increase the awareness among general public regarding the air quality of Pakistan.
He said that Pak-EPA had conducted number of studies to investigate the ambient air quality in the major cities of Pakistan. “All these studies revealed that the number one problem relevant to the ambient air quality is the Particulate Matter (PM). PM (both TSP and PM10) concentrations in all major cities are extremely high,” he said. He said that EPA was doing its best to control air pollution and few days back they had sealed one or two industrial units for not using anti-pollution devices.