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Pakistan: Hazardous air puts health of millions at risk

, Index number: ASA 33/1370/2019

The air in Punjab, Pakistan’s most populous province, is so toxic that people’s health and lives are in grave danger. Schools have been forced to shut down, respiratory illnesses are on the rise and people are having trouble breathing. On 13 November, the Air Quality Index in Lahore, the capital of Punjab, reached 556 – far exceeding the threshold for ‘hazardous’ levels, which begins at 300. The Government of Pakistan is assessing the air quality using measures not in line with international standards and so, people are not adequately warned or equipped as to how to protect themselves from the smog. The government of Pakistan must act on its human rights obligations and take urgent action to protect people from the adverse consequences of poor air quality.