ISLAMABAD - The air quality of the capital after scattered thunderstorms during rainy weather turned moderate on Friday after the pollutant ratio though less than the permissible limits witnessed a slight spike in their atmospheric concentration.

The air quality was recorded moderate as suspended particles were noted below permissible limits in the atmosphere alongwith the pollutants’ ratio due to consistent rainy and gusty weather.

The air quality data has been collected by Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency (Pak-EPA) which monitors air pollutants ratio for 24 hours based on three intervals of eight hours data collection from different locations.

The Pak-EPA data revealed that the air quality throughout the three intervals of data monitoring remained high as the pollutants were below the permissible limits of national environmental quality standards (NEQS).

The hazardous air pollutant particulate matter of 2.5 microns (PM2.5), which was a lethal atmospheric contaminant, remained 21.33 microgrammes per cubic meter on average which is higher than the NEQS of 35 microgrammes per cubic meter and denotes the air quality unhealthy.

The PM2.5 is generated through combustion of an engine, industrial emissions, burning garbage or inflammable material and dust blown up by fast moving cars plying on non-cemented patches of the roads.

Moreover, the frequent forest fires in the federal capital also created high suspended particles, dust and particulate matter in the atmosphere, an EPA official said.

The particulate matter had exceeded the permissible limits beyond 40 microns prior to the onset of rainfall which was mainly due to persistent hot and dry weather.

The nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide were recorded below permissible ratio as they were recorded 3.64 and 12.52 microgrammes per cubic meter in past 24 hours in the atmosphere against the NEQS of 80 and 120 microgrammes per cubic meter respectively. These effluents were mainly produced during the operational activities of industrial plants and factories that were already under-control, he said.

He urged the masses with respiratory conditions and other critical heart or lungs diseases to avoid prolonged outdoor visits and wear face coverings and goggles when the air quality was unhealthy while venturing outdoors.