Get an AirVisual Outdoor and contribute to collecting millions of data points for the Islamabad map to track local air pollution
Air pollution levels in Islamabad can come in with some significantly heightened readings throughout much of the year. Many polluting sources are occurring throughout Islamabad, with some areas being subject to higher pollution concentrations than others (although as with any city around the world, these levels can and will change suddenly, hence why air pollution maps can be so helpful).
Regarding the air pollution levels present in Islamabad, many came in within the higher rating brackets, which are shown as colored discs on the air quality map above. Many cities, particularly those with cleaner air, will see many discs showing up with green color-coding along with a US AQI reading that is below 50. This is the most optimal level of air quality that can be obtained, with the closer to 0 being even better. The closer the US AQI figure is (or the air quality index reading) to 0, the lower the pollution concentration will be along with any other harmful materials such as ultrafine particles, many of which can be just as damaging as some of the gases released into the atmosphere from the standard polluting sources. For the latter part of the year 2022, some sample US AQI readings will be quoted to give an example to users and readers of this article, but as always (as is a common theme in all cities worldwide, including those that have a good level of air cleanliness), these readings can be subject to significant changes and as such, they should be monitored carefully. Certain groups of more vulnerable or at-risk people can benefit even more so from keeping up to date with these readings.
Citing some examples, in late September of 2022, Islamabad presented with US AQI figures of 70 and 91, placing the city into the 'moderate' bracket in these particular areas. This air quality rating bracket starts to indicate that the air is becoming slowly unhealthier to breathe, and irritation to the respiratory tract, mucous membranes and even the cardiovascular system may start to become affected by readings that come in within this grouping (which also comes with a yellow color-coding). The next set of readings came in above 101, which would place them into the 'unhealthy for sensitive groups' bracket, one in which, as the name implies, can cause a heightened set of adverse health effects, particularly of those previously mentioned. Readings in the 'unhealthy for sensitive groups' bracket came in at 132 and 144, and are on the higher end of this rating spectrum, which requires a US AQI reading of anywhere between 101 to 150 to be classified as such.
Further air pollution readings include ones that went up further to the next pollution rating bracket (which shows that the air quality in Islamabad can indeed be quite harmful to health, and many preventative measures should be used, if possible, to prevent these high air pollution concentrations from causing adverse effects. These include measures such as wearing particle filtering masks and closing doors and windows to prevent the ingress of pollution into houses, particularly if people viewing the map are living in areas that are currently undergoing high pollution readings). These readings were two sets of 153 in close proximity to each other, putting them just within the 'unhealthy' rating bracket, showing up as red on the map and starting to indicate a level of air pollution concentration whereby all members of society can be affected. Readings across the different sites can and will change, hence regular air quality map checkups are recommended.
The air quality readings present on the map above are aggregated by several main pollutants, which are used to calculate the US AQI reading not just in Islamabad but throughout the world. The reason for this is their prevalence and release from many of the main polluting sources, and although there are many variations possible, these remain core components in calculating the overall pollution levels into an easy-to-understand number, that of the US AQI reading. Also present on the regular city pages are the various concentrations of the different air pollutants present in Islamabad and other cities. For air quality measures from years past, PM2.5 is also used, due to it being a very common and dangerous air pollutant that is present almost everywhere (and is also figured into the US AQI aggregation).
Other pollutants used to form the US AQI figure (as well as inform users as to what pollutants they are most likely to be breathing when they are in an area with high pollution readings) are carbon monoxide, ozone, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide, along with the two forms of particle-based pollution, PM10 and PM2.5. The aforementioned PM2.5 is one of the more insidious ones, and can cover materials ranging from spores, bacteria, metals, nitrates and sulfates, water and oil droplets, silica dust, black carbon, along with many other materials (some of which can have severely adverse effects on the human body, particularly amongst children or those who are unwell) that fall into the category of being 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter, hence classing them as being PM2.5.
Whilst many people within Islamabad of the population will benefit from using the air pollution map and city pages for reference in Istanbul, there are certain groups of more vulnerable or at-risk people that should go to greater lengths to ensure that pollution within the air does not bring them even more harm. These groups include people such as young children and babies, along with the elderly, all of whom are susceptible to the negative changes brought about on a physiological level by air pollution exposure. Other groups include pregnant women, those with pre-existing health conditions, as well as those with weakened or compromised immune systems.
Air quality maps that inform their user base about which areas of Islamabad are the most highly polluted, can help avert or at the very least lessen a wide spectrum of different health issues. These include ones such as pulmonary or cardiovascular diseases, as well as issues that affect the skin, such as psoriasis, acne, and eczema. Damage to the circulatory system can take place from excess pollution inhalation, as many ultrafine particles can cross the blood barrier in the lungs due to the minute size, and enter the bloodstream. This can lead to strokes, heart attacks, and cancers of various areas throughout the body, along with damage to lung tissue, causing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) related illnesses to appear, which include pneumonia, bronchitis and asthma.