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Here is mounting evidence that the air quality in Pakistan is having a strong impact on our quality of life. While research has shown the impact of poor air quality on morbidity and mortality for more serious conditions, its insidious effects are not discussed enough.

The numbers paint a frightening picture.

According to the World Air Quality report, Pakistan was the second most polluted country in 2018. At the time of writing this article, Karachi and Lahore were among the 10 cities in the world to have the most polluted air, with Lahore’s AQI (Air Quality Index) at 188 and Karachi’s at 182.

An AQI of up to 50 is healthy. Beyond that, an AQI 0f 100-150 becomes unhealthy for children, and people with heart and lung disease. An AQI of above 150 is unhealthy for everyone while levels above 300 constitute a health emergency.

Data from Lahore and Peshawar showed an AQI of above 300 on multiple days in the month of November. As for Lahore alone, in November, there wasn’t a single day in the country’s cultural capital that could be called healthy.