Air quality in Islamabad

Air quality index (AQI) and PM2.5 air pollution in Islamabad

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Weather

What is the current weather in Islamabad?

Weather icon
WeatherFew clouds
Temperature86°C
Humidity66%
Wind3.1 mp/h
Pressure1000 mb

live aqi city ranking

Real-time Pakistan city ranking

#cityUS AQI
1 Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

172

2 Mianwali, Punjab

140

3 Islamabad, Islamabad

122

4 Mirpur Khas, Sindh

102

5 Bahawalpur, Punjab

101

6 Lahore, Punjab

74

7 Rawalpindi, Punjab

70

8 Faisalabad, Punjab

55

9 Karachi, Sindh

50

10 Abbottabad, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

45

(local time)

SEE WORLD AQI RANKING

live Islamabad aqi ranking

Real-time Islamabad air quality ranking

#stationUS AQI
1 AUSTRIAN Embassy

127

2 US Embassy in Islamabad

119

3 Mughal Village

84

(local time)

SEE WORLD AQI RANKING

US AQI

127

live AQI index
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups

Human face indicating AQI level

Overview

What is the current air quality in Islamabad?

Air pollution levelAir quality indexMain pollutant
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 127 US AQItrendPM2.5
PollutantsConcentration
PM2.5
46µg/m³trend
!

PM2.5

x9.2

PM2.5 concentration in Islamabad is currently 9.2 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value

Health Recommendations

How to protect from air pollution in Islamabad?

An IQAir mask icon Sensitive groups should wear a mask outdoors
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An open window iconClose your windows to avoid dirty outdoor air
A man cycling iconEveryone should reduce outdoor exercise

Forecast

Islamabad air quality index (AQI) forecast

DayPollution levelWeatherTemperatureWind
Tuesday, Aug 9

Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 118 US AQI

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon93.2°78.8°
Wind rotating 106 degree

4.5 mp/h

Wednesday, Aug 10

Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 126 US AQI

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon95°82.4°
Wind rotating 72 degree

6.7 mp/h

Thursday, Aug 11

Moderate 79 US AQI

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon91.4°77°
Wind rotating 130 degree

15.7 mp/h

Today

Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 127 US AQI

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon93.2°75.2°
Wind rotating 319 degree

8.9 mp/h

Saturday, Aug 13

Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 118 US AQI

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon95°80.6°
Wind rotating 120 degree

6.7 mp/h

Sunday, Aug 14

Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 111 US AQI

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon91.4°80.6°
Wind rotating 123 degree

6.7 mp/h

Monday, Aug 15

Moderate 83 US AQI

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon86°75.2°
Wind rotating 126 degree

11.2 mp/h

Tuesday, Aug 16

Moderate 87 US AQI

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon86°75.2°
Wind rotating 85 degree

4.5 mp/h

Wednesday, Aug 17

Moderate 93 US AQI

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon86°77°
Wind rotating 123 degree

6.7 mp/h

Thursday, Aug 18

Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 108 US AQI

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon87.8°75.2°
Wind rotating 90 degree

4.5 mp/h

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Historical

Historic air quality graph for Islamabad

How to best protect from air pollution?

Reduce your air pollution exposure in Islamabad

AIR QUALITY ANALYSIS AND STATISTICS FOR Islamabad

Is Islamabad a polluted city?

Islamabad is the capital city of Pakistan, located in the northern region of the country. It has just over 1 million people living there, and is considered historically to be an area that contains evidence of some of the earliest human settlements. In modern times, Islamabad attracts people from all over the country to migrate there, making it one of the more urbanized and cosmopolitan cities in Pakistan.

In regards to the levels of pollution in the air, Islamabad came in with PM2.5 readings of 35.2 μg/m³ as a yearly average over 2019. This put it as the cleanest city in the whole of the country, coming in at 10th place out of all cities currently ranked in Pakistan.

This reading also put it in 311th place out of all countries worldwide, and whilst this is not as disastrous of a ranking as other cities located in Pakistan (with Gujranwala and Faisalabad taking 3rd and 4th place worldwide in 2019, with PM2.5 readings of 105.3 μg/m³ and 104.6 μg/m³) it still stands to reason that the air quality in Islamabad is by no means safe, and would cause a large number of issues for its inhabitants, particularly those who belong to vulnerable demographics such as young children, the elderly or those with preexisting health conditions or compromised immune systems.

What are the main causes of pollution in Islamabad?

The main causes of pollution in Islamabad would stem mostly from it being a heavily urbanized and cosmopolitan city, as well as some elements that would still persevere from older habits that lead to air contamination. These older practices would include the open burning of refuse and waste, as well as the burning of biomass for heating and cooking around homes.

These factors, whilst still pertinent, do not figure as largely as the more modern and pressing issues such as factory emissions, with large amounts of industrial areas around Islamabad focused on the recycling of scrap metals, the production of bricks via the many brick kilns as well as other chemical production plants, many of which have no fixed regulations in regards to the amount of chemicals or fine particulate matter that they pump into the atmosphere.

Lastly, the most salient source of pollution in Islamabad would be that of vehicular emissions, which along with factory smoke and fumes, would make up the majority of ambient year-round pollution levels (although open burning of garbage is still a dangerous and present practice).

The many cars, motorbikes and outdated heavy-duty vehicles on the roads such as buses, lorries and trucks would all be putting out vast amounts of pollution, with extremely old motors being used as well as lower quality diesel fuels, all of which contribute to a worser quality of air than modern cleaner counterparts would.

When is the air quality at its worst in Islamabad?

Observing the data from the last few years, the months that came in with the worst readings of PM2.5 are the same throughout the whole of Pakistan, and indeed remain the same for Islamabad. The cleanest months of the year take place during the middle months, with March through to May coming in with the cleanest readings of 18.6 μg/m³, 17.2 μg/m³ and 14.6 μg/m³ respectively, making May the cleanest month out of the entire year, with respectable levels of pollution in comparison, noting that 14.6 μg/m³ is only a few units away from achieving a ‘good’ rating of air quality (10 to 12 μg/m³ required for classification).

The dirtiest months came towards the end of the year as well as the very beginning, with a rapid decline in air quality becoming apparent around June, with May going from 14.6 μg/m³ to 20.5 μg/m³ in June, and then up even more to 31.7 μg/m³ in July. This trend continued until an absolute high of 96.3 μg/m³ was recorded in December, making it by far the worst month of the year and putting it into the ‘unhealthy’ ratings bracket, meaning that the end month would have the highest level of danger for those exposed to such high pollution levels.

Is air quality in Islamabad getting better?

Once again looking at the data from past years, it does appear that Islamabad is making gradual improvements in its air quality. In 2017, Islamabad came in with a PM2.5 yearly average of 39.2 μg/m³, putting it up a notch into the ‘unhealthy for sensitive groups’ bracket (35.5 to 55.4 μg/m³).

In the next year a minor improvement also was taken, with a yearly average of 38.6 μg/m³ being taken. Whilst this was only a subtle change, any improvements in pollution levels are positive, and true to its cleaner readings, continued on into 2019 with the aforementioned average of 35.2 μg/m³, a rating that was low enough to knock it down a group into the ‘moderate’ bracket, albeit on the absolute high end of this grouping.

This shows that pollution levels in Islamabad are making steady improvements, and with the right initiatives may continue to do so in the future.

How does Islamabad compare to other cities in Pakistan?

Despite being the capital city, as well as undergoing rapid urbanization that brings with it a large amount of pollutive sources such as construction sites as well as increased numbers of people and vehicles, Islamabad has fared very well against its neighboring cities, free of the catastrophic spikes of pollution that some of them display.

To give some comparison, the other well-known city of Lahore came in with a yearly PM2.5 average of 89.5 μg/m³, nearly two and a half times that of Islamabad's yearly reading. It also showed massive highs throughout the year, with PM2.5 levels soaring up to 199.1 μg/m³ in January and 182.7 μg/m³ in December, double that of Islamabad's worst reading (also taken in December).

With some other cities reviewed, they also showed the extreme spikes in pollution present at the end and beginning of the year, with Faisalabad coming in with the highest reading in Pakistan out of the entire year of 2019, at 226.2 μg/m³ taken in December, putting it into the ‘very unhealthy’ bracket, which requires a PM2.5 reading of anywhere between 150.5 to 250.4 μg/m³, and as the name suggests would be disastrous to anyone caught within the city at that time of the year. As such, Islamabad is faring quite well when compared to other cities in Pakistan, and if its trend of improving pollution levels continues, may find itself in a better position in regards to its air quality.

Islamabad air quality data attribution

Contributors 3

Data validated and calibrated by IQAir

Where is the cleanest air quality in Islamabad?

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