Clean Up Air Pollution in Pakistan

Target: Saira Afzal Tarar, Pakistan’s Minister of State for National Health Services Regulation and Coordination

Goal: Significantly reduce particulate pollution and ground-level ozone in Pakistan’s urban centers.

Pakistan is one of the most polluted countries in the world. Between 2008 and 2013, the concentration of particulate matter (PM), particles in the atmosphere which are harmful to breathe, in the Pakistani cities of Karachi, Peshawar, and Rawalpindi were found to be so high that those cities made the list for the fifth, sixth, and seventh most polluted cities in terms of particulate-based air quality, respectively. In 2014, a World Bank report stated that “Pakistan’s urban air pollution is among the most severe in the world and it engenders significant damage to human health and the economy,” and The Telegraph reported that “Pakistan’s urban areas are, on average, the world’s most polluted…” earlier this year.

The World Health Organization (WHO) considers an Air Quality Guideline (AQG) level of less than 10, referring to the particulate concentration of PM2.5 (“fine particles”) over an μg/m3 annual mean, to be safe. However, in 2010, Karachi, Peshawar, and Rawalpindi were found to have PM2.5 concentrations of 117, 111, and 107, respectively—far above the safe level.

Levels of smog, consisting of ozone and other pollutants, are also high: In 2013, Pakistan’s The Express Tribune reported that in the capital city of Islamabad, the concentration of O3 (ground-level ozone) was found to exceed the level considered safe by WHO; NO2—nitrogen dioxide, a gas which causes lung functioning to deteriorate, and can break down into other pollutants—was also found to be present in high quantities.

Sign below to demand that Pakistan do more to protect its people and the environment from harmful particulate pollution.


Dear Minister Tarar,

Industrialization may improve Pakistan’s economy, and motorization its transportation, but the rapid expansion of these sectors in your country has come at a serious cost to the environment, including air quality. This problem is particularly acute in densely-populated urban areas such as Lahore, Islamabad, Karachi, Peshawar, and Rawalpindi, where particulate pollution and noxious gases like ozone and nitrogen dioxide threaten the health of Pakistanis on multiple levels.

The World Bank, the World Health Organization, and numerous periodicals have noted the calamitous nature of your country’s environmental situation. Air pollution is a major contributor to Pakistan’s environmental decline and a threat to public health.

Please pressure your government to do more to protect the health of its citizens and that of their environment by drastically reducing the levels of air pollution in Pakistan.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: K.M. Chaudary

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One Comment

  1. Pakistan, please take action and start reducing pollution for the health of your people. This horrendous situation is NOT acceptable.

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