Around 20,000 premature deaths linked to air pollution in Pakistan: WB report

Pakistan among 12 worst countries in environmental pollution

Pakistan is faced with a severe damaging public health and quality of life due to the air population where more than 20,000 premature deaths are associated with air pollution in the country.

World Bank’s recently published reports titled as ‘Cleaning Pakistan’s Air: Policy Options to Address the Cost of Outdoor Air Pollution’ discussed the importance clean air and significant damages to human health and environment.

According to report statistics that Pakistan air pollution, particularly in large urban centres is composed of solid particles and gases present is the key reason behind the deaths of 20,000 people in the country.

Moreover, the global Environmental Performance Index (EPI) rankings released on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos states that substantial populations still suffer from poor air quality, most notably in Pakistan, India and China.

EPI’s report says that Pakistan stands at 169 in EPI among 180 countries on 24 performance indicators across 10 issue categories covering environmental health and ecosystem vitality while India is the fourth worst country in the world when it comes to curbing environmental pollution. India is at the 177th spot, down from 141st position two years ago.

Pakistan’s urban air pollution is among the most severe in the world and it engenders significant damages to human health and the economy. Air pollution, inadequate water supply, sanitation, and hygiene are the top environmental priority problems in Pakistan.

Generically, air pollution is caused by fuel combustion in various sectors: domestic use, power generation, transport, and industry. The problem is aggravated by meteorological conditions and a combination of population density and urbanization.

The World Bank advocates that Pakistan allocate increased resources to AQM, because evidence shows that its air quality is severely affecting millions of Pakistanis and because experiences around the world indicate that well-targeted interventions can significantly improve air quality.

Other countries such as Bhutan, India, and Sri Lanka have adopted a number of measures that have resulted in reduced urban air pollution, Pakistan has yet to follow suit and is paying the costs of increasingly high outdoor air pollution.

Environmental Performance Index further says air quality was the leading environmental threat to public health worldwide, Switzerland leads the world in sustainability, followed by France, Denmark, Malta and Sweden.

According to report, the number of premature deaths caused by air pollution exceeded more than 20,000 as compared to other high-profile causes of public health problems, the levels of PM, sulfur dioxide (SO2), and lead (Pb) were many times higher than the World Health Organization (WHO) air quality guidelines.

Salma Khan
Salma writes on topics ranging from education to technology to business. She can be reached at Twitter and Facebook.

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