ISLAMABAD                 -              Closure of factories and industries of the capital with residents restricted to their homes to avoid outside activity leaves the environment of Islamabad at a much better place than before. 

The ambient air quality of the federal capital has been recorded excellent with lowest ratio of environmental pollutants. 

The hazardous pollutants of particulate matter of 2.5 microns has fallen short of the World Health Organization (WHO) and National Environmental Quality Standards (NEQS) standards as the ambient air quality in the federal capital is recorded better and healthier than before.  Talking exclusively with TheNation, Ms FarzanaAltaffrom Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revealed that the air pollution has been minimum in the recent days. She stated that owing to the closure of factories and industries, the environment of the capital is improving.  

Elaborating the subject, the official explained that heavy traffic running on diesel used to cause most of the harm to the environment and now as the city is in a lockdown state, the heavy traffic is nowhere on the roads and the normal traffic is also seen very less. Further, she said that the factories and industries were also closed due to which the wastage and disposal activities were not occurring. 

When this correspondent asked Ms Altaf if EPA Islamabad was taking this moment as an advantage to get rid of the littering plastic and to further improve the air condition of the capital, the official replied that the current time was best and being used by the department to analyse the effect or harm our factories, industries, traffic and people cause to this environment in the usual days. 

Explaining further, she told that as the air ambient quality has improved a lot in the recent days, therefore, it was the best time to compare how much harm we cause to the environment for example, our industries, traffic etc of Islamabad. 

According to a recent report Ambient Air Quality Islamabad (AAQI) dated on 25th of this month, 24 hours average concentrations of parameters viz. nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and sulphur dioxide (SO2) are below the permissible limits of National Environmental Quality Standards (NEQS) whereas concentration of particulate matter of size less than 2.5 microns (PM2.5) is below the permissible limits of National Environmental Quality Standards (NEQS).  

National Environmental Quality Standards had settled an average limit of 80µg/m³ for NO2 and 120µg/m³ for SO2 for 24 hours.  However, owing to the lockdown situation and closure of the whole city, the average taken out for NO2 in 24 hours was 15.36 instead of 80µg/m³ and SO2 was 18.86 instead of 120µg/m³.  At the end of last year, the ambient air quality of the federal capital was much worse and recorded much higher.

During that time, the pollution level comprising particulate matter of 2.5 microns (PM2.5) has exceeded the permissible ratio of 35 micrograms per cubic meter (mg/m³) which was recorded 59.06 mg/m³, the highest ever in the federal capital. 

World Health Organization (WHO) in its reports had claimed air pollution to cause a huge number of premature deaths.