Minister stresses need for countering air pollution in capital


ISLAMABAD: Minister for National Health Services Aamer Mehmood Kiani taking notice of air pollution in the federal capital on Sunday requested the Prime Minister’s Advisor on Climate Change to carry out an assessment of the quality of air.

The minister, in a statement, said it was necessary to take measures to protect the health of residents of Islamabad.

He said global climate change and deteriorating of quality of urban air were major issues affecting the human health.

The health effects caused by air pollution, he said, included difficulty in breathing, wheezing, coughing, asthma and aggravation of existing respiratory and cardiac conditions.

The human health effects of poor air quality were far reaching, but principally the body’s respiratory system and the cardiovascular system were affected, he added.

The minister said the declining quality of air was the biggest environmental issue in Islamabad.

Accumulating evidence, Kiani said, indicated that air pollutants contributed to serious, even fatal, damage to the cardiovascular system.

He said smoking caused respiratory and cardiovascular diseases in the country. Urban air pollution was estimated to cause around 22,000 premature deaths among adults and 700 deaths among young children annually.

Indoor air pollution caused the deaths of more than 30,000 children per year, he added.

He said to address the grave situation, a rapid assessment of particulate matter 10 and 2.5 might be carried out in different locations in high industrial zones of I-9 and I-10 Islamabad.

He said the particulate matter in industries would be measured through Haz-dust EPAM (Environmental Particulate Air Monitor-5000), available with Environmental Protection Agency, Ministry of Climate Change. EPAM-5000 is a portable instrument best for measuring indoor environmental and ambient air monitoring.

Kiani said he personally wanted to inform the prime minister about the health effects of the industrial pollution in Islamabad so that highest possible level of political commitment was achieved to deal with the issue in the capital first and then across the country.

He requested to direct the EPA to extend their full support to the investigators of Health Services Academy, Islamabad.