Dismal AQI earns Lahore 'most polluted city' title.

LAHORE -- On the day the Punjab capital topped the charts as the most polluted city in the world, environmental experts called out the agency tasked with curbing pollution for its chronic incapacity and lack of manpower.

Lahore jumped more than 10 places to become the city with the worst air quality in 2022, according to an annual global survey by a Swiss maker of air purifiers.

According to the report published by IQAir on Tuesday, the central African country Chad replaced Bangladesh as the country with the most polluted air last year.

The survey measures air quality levels based on the concentration of lung-damaging airborne particles known as PM2.5. Its annual survey is widely cited by researchers and government organisations.

In 2022, Lahore's air quality worsened to 97.4 micrograms of PM2.5 particles per cubic metre, exceeding the WHO guidelines by over 10 times. The same number was 86.5 micrograms of PM2.5 particles per cubic metre in 2021.

Environment expert Prof Dr Sajjad H. Sheikh told Dawn that the institution established to control environmental pollution was not working properly despite having one of the best legal frameworks to counter the menace.

He said Punjab's Environment Protection Department (EPD) lacks the capacity to implement its law and the current human resource did not have any expertise when it comes to environmental protection as they lack any formal training.

He said the Punjab Green Development Program (PGDP), a World Bank-funded program worth $273 million failed as it couldn't be implemented due to the shortage of human resources.

He said the key objectives of the PGDP were strengthening environmental governance and promoting green investments but nothing was done to this...

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