By Ahsan Jamil
THE AIR pollution in the country is a mammoth challenge that is causing severe effects not only on human health but also on agricultural lands, acidification of lakes, biodiversity. The air pollution marks its menace due to uncontrolled and unaudited emissions of noxious greenhouse gases (GHG) in air from several sources such as industries, automobiles, and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) etc. The CFCs are believed to be primary culprit for stratospheric ozone layer depletion causing global warming and they have an extended lifetime of 20 to 100 years in atmosphere. The effective air quality monitoring system is imperative to be devised in country to identify the points of high GHG content in the air and restrict the emitting sources through the lash of legislation and frequent environmental audit.
The Air Quality Monitoring is one of the areas that need development at optimum level. The subject is one of the most under-stressed topics in the current circumstances in various circles due to engulfment of country in various internal and external economic constraints.
The government of Pakistan is focusing on future climate challenges like air pollution at immediate basis and air pollution resilient policies are being mulled over to combat with it. The restoration of Ministry of Climate Change is the glimpse of seriousness at elite level and a hint of moving in right direction.
The environmental scientists, researchers, students, academicians from various reputed public and private sector environmental agencies frequently voice their concerns over inadequate air quality monitoring in Pakistan and vehemently emphasize on the need of integrated efforts, funding enhancement, capacity building, and upgradation of laboratory equipment to effectively monitor the extent of air pollution in the country with the standard precision. The more in depth data will be acquired, the more deep an air quality monitoring scientist can drill to analyze the threshold of air pollutants and propose viable pragmatic sustainable solution.
Dr Ghulam Rasool, Director Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) in his media talk said, “The techniques of effective air quality monitoring include Stack Emission Analysis in which stack of boilers, Generators, HVAC and other processes are analyzed for the Flue Gases. The parameters determined through this technique include CO, CO2, O2, H2S, Sox, NO, NO2 and NOx. The Efficiency (Net and Gross), Excess Air, H2, Hydrocarbons (CH), Dew Point, Flue Temperature (F.T), Smoke, Particulate Matter (PM10) are also monitored through this technique”.
The government must make it mandatory for the industry; the utilization of electrostatic precipitators (wet and dry types), fabric filters (also called bag houses), wet scrubbers, cyclones (or multiclones) that are helpful in controlling particulate emission in air; whereas thermal oxidizers, catalytic reactors, carbon adsorbers, absorption towers, and biofilters can radically control gaseous and vapor pollutants.
The DAOS spectrometry techniques must also be adapted in order to observe and analyze field measurements. The funding in RandD sector to discover innovative approaches to restrict the air pollution challenge is also necessary. The capacity building workshops, seminars, and frequent gelling up of stakeholder on these issues of air pollution will be certainly helpful for optimizing future strategies and devising of policies that will help Pakistan to come out of the red zone of being in top 10 most vulnerable countries to climate change effect.