Get an AirVisual Outdoor and contribute to collecting millions of data points for the Karachi map to track local air pollution
The air pollution map for Karachi is found on the main city page for Karachi. Once it is selected, a new page will open dedicated to air quality.
The first thing to notice about the map is the overall colour of the background. This acts as an indication of the overall air quality, the darker the colour, the worse the air quality. The significance of the colours is explained at the bottom of the screen. The colours range from pale green for good air quality to dark maroon which is classed as hazardous.
The user will also notice some coloured discs with a number on them. These discs represent the position of the ground-level monitoring station from where they gather the data. The number on them is the US AQI reading which is a standard set of metrics which is used when comparing air quality in different cities around the world. It is calculated by measuring the six most prolific air pollutants and is endorsed by the World Health Organisation (WHO). According to the main city page, in June 2022, Karachi was experiencing a period of “Moderate” air quality with a US AQI reading of 53. The main pollutant was PM2.5 with a measurement of 13 µg/m³. At this concentration, it is over two and a half times above the suggested level of 5 µg/m³ as recommended by the WHO.
Once the map is opened, the viewer will see four options on the left-hand side of the screen which can be toggled on or off if desired. The first choice shows the position of the air monitors in and around Karachi. Sometimes the map needs to be expanded to separate the discs as they often appear on top of each other. These appear as coloured discs with the US AQI number on them.
The second option shows the location of any fires currently burning in the vicinity, which, together with the fourth option of the wind direction, can provide useful information as to whether the city is going to be affected by the smoke or not.
For the maximum amount of good information, it is recommended that both these pages are read at the same time. On the right-hand side of the air quality map can be seen a table which shows the ranking of world cities according to their air quality. The dirtiest city will appear at the top of the table. This can be interesting when comparing your home city with others.
Directly underneath the air quality map for Karachi can be seen the number of stations that contribute data regarding air quality. It can be seen that Karachi has just one station which is operated by the Defence Housing Authority. Reading a little further it is shown that this station has almost 27,000 followers.
Towards the bottom of the city page can be found a list of other Pakistan cities and their air quality. It is nice to know out of curiosity how clean or dirty other cities are.
The only way to tell where the worst areas of pollution are is to look at the numbers on the coloured discs. As already stated, the higher the number the worse the air quality. Because there is only one station providing data in Karachi, this will not help very much.
Much air pollution comes from the practice of burning crop residue after each harvest. Toxic gases emitted from straw fumes are polluting the environment with carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, etc. Even healthy people find it very difficult to breathe. The problem of burning eyes and throat is greatly exacerbated. Increased levels of unnecessary dust particles and gases in the air have forced the earth to warm up, which has increased the risk of global warming. Most of the air is being polluted with carbon monoxide gas, which contributes 50 per cent to the air pollution. The unseasonal rains have caused severe damage to crops. When fires are actively burning, many other types of garbage can be added to the fires, such as plastic bottles and other waste products.
There is no need to tell the farmers much about the ill effects of burning straw. They are also seriously aware of this problem but the marginalized farmers are forcing them to take this step. This straw acts as a natural fertilizer and enhances the fertility of the land. These costs are prohibitive for a farmer who is already in debt.
As with any major city, a lot of pollution is emitted from the vehicles using its road network. Rickshaws and buses are particularly bad. Most rickshaws use two-stroke engines so the gasoline is mixed with oil and as the machine gets older, emits much more pollution than a standard engine.
Due to the increasing number of vehicles and the decreasing number of trees, the type and intensity of pollution is increasing every year. Air pollution reaches very dangerous levels in cities like Karachi. The reason for this is PM2.5 and PM10 particles present in the air. These particles cause great harm to everyone's health. When the level of these particles increases in the air, then difficulty in breathing, burning in the eyes etc.
PM is also called particulate matter or particle pollution, which is a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets present in the atmosphere. The particles present in the air are so small that you cannot even see with the naked eye. Some particles are so small that they can only be detected using an electron microscope. Particle pollution includes PM2.5 and PM10 which are very dangerous.
PM2.5 refers to atmospheric particulate matter with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres, which is about 3 per cent of the diameter of a human hair.
Commonly written as PM2.5, the particles in this category are so small that they can only be detected with the help of an electron microscope. They are also smaller than their PM10 counterparts. PM10 are those particles whose diameter is 10 micrometres and they are also called fine particles. Environmental experts say that PM10 is also called Respirable Particulate Matter.
It consists of dust, dust and fine particles of metal. PM10 and PM2.5 increase in dust, construction sites and by burning garbage and straw.