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Global Go To Think Tank Index (GGTTI) 2020 launched                    111,75 Think Tanks across the world ranked in different categories.                SDPI is ranked 90th among “Top Think Tanks Worldwide (non-US)”.           SDPI stands 11th among Top Think Tanks in South & South East Asia & the Pacific (excluding India).            SDPI notches 33rd position in “Best New Idea or Paradigm Developed by A Think Tank” category.                SDPI remains 42nd in “Best Quality Assurance and Integrity Policies and Procedure” category.              SDPI stands 49th in “Think Tank to Watch in 2020”.            SDPI gets 52nd position among “Best Independent Think Tanks”.                           SDPI becomes 63rd in “Best Advocacy Campaign” category.                   SDPI secures 60th position in “Best Institutional Collaboration Involving Two or More Think Tanks” category.                       SDPI obtains 64th position in “Best Use of Media (Print & Electronic)” category.               SDPI gains 66th position in “Top Environment Policy Tink Tanks” category.                SDPI achieves 76th position in “Think Tanks With Best External Relations/Public Engagement Program” category.                    SDPI notches 99th position in “Top Social Policy Think Tanks”.            SDPI wins 140th position among “Top Domestic Economic Policy Think Tanks”.               SDPI is placed among special non-ranked category of Think Tanks – “Best Policy and Institutional Response to COVID-19”.                                            Owing to COVID-19 outbreak, SDPI staff is working from home from 9am to 5pm five days a week. All our staff members are available on phone, email and/or any other digital/electronic modes of communication during our usual official hours. You can also find all our work related to COVID-19 in orange entries in our publications section below.    The Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) is pleased to announce its Twenty-third Sustainable Development Conference (SDC) from 14 – 17 December 2020 in Islamabad, Pakistan. The overarching theme of this year’s Conference is Sustainable Development in the Times of COVID-19. Read more…       FOOD SECIRITY DASHBOARD: On 4th Nov, SDPI has shared the first prototype of Food Security Dashboard with Dr Moeed Yousaf, the Special Assistant to Prime Minister on  National Security and Economic Outreach in the presence of stakeholders, including Ministry of National Food Security and Research. Provincial and district authorities attended the event in person or through zoom. The dashboard will help the government monitor and regulate the supply chain of essential food commodities.

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Published Date: Apr 1, 2005

Air Pollution: Key Environmental Issues in Pakistan(W-99)

Mahmood A. Khwaja and Shaheen Rafi Khan


Air pollution is rapidly growing environmental problem in Pakistan. Highly inefficient energy use, accelerated growth in vehicle population and vehicle kilometers traveled, increasing industrial activity without adequate air emission treatment or control, open burning of solid waste including plastic, and use of ozone depleting substances (ODSs) are some of the major causes of deterioration of ambient air quality.

Some key environmental issues about air quality in Pakistan have been assessed and discussed, using the Pressure, State, Impact and Response (P-S-I-R) framework.

Rapidly growing energy demand, fuel substitution such as high emitting coal and oil, and high-energy intensity are the key factors contributing to air pollution. Some factors contributing to high-energy intensity are transmission and distribution losses in power generation, fuel prices subsidies on diesel and ageing vehicles, which are primarily diesel powered.

The state of air quality has been assessed by examining the emission levels of air pollutants and ambient air quality. The average increase in sulfur dioxide across major emitting sectors (industry, transport and power) has been 23-fold over the past 20 years. Similarly, nitrogen oxides increased to 25-fold in the power sector and carbon dioxide increased an average of fourfold. Pakistan’s per capita greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are far below the global average.

Ambient air quality data show that carbon monoxide levels in Karachi and Lahore considerably exceed WHO’s recommended levels. Particulate matter content cross safety levels in the major industrial cities in the Punjab province. The reported lead levels in ambient air sites in Peshawar, Rawalpindi, Lahore and Karachi are also quite high compared to WHO’s permissible levels.

The health impacts of air, water pollution and productivity losses from deforestation and soil erosion have been assessed at 1.71 billion dollars, or 3.3 percent of GNP, in the early 90s. The losses attributed to air pollution, in terms of health care costs, amount to 500 million dollars a year.

To combat air pollution, the government has formulated acts and policies, including the National Environment Action Plan (NEAP). Pakistan Environmental Protection Act, 1997 (PEPA-97) covers air, water, soil and noise pollution, including hazardous waste disposal and vehicular pollution. Its section 15, sub-sections 1 to 3, pertain to regulation of motor vehicles.

NEAP reflects a renewed commitment to environment and focuses on taking immediate measures in four priority areas of concerns – air, water, solid waste, and ECO system management – to achieve a visible improvement in the quality of environment, including air.