Pollutants exceed air quality limits after ‘mysterious gas’ leakage in Karachi: report | Pakistan


Security personnel wearing face masks speak to a man outside the entrance to a hospital in Karachi, Pakistan, February 18, 2020. AFP/Rizwan Tabassum

KARACHI: Air pollutants excessively exceeded the preset standards for the city’s air quality after a suspected gas leak in Keamari left 14 people dead and impacted over 300 others, a environment research lab said in a report issued Tuesday.

In its report, the Global Environmental Lab (GEL) compiled preliminary data on air quality in specific areas of the metropolis on the request of Sindh Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA).

Read more: Karachi ranked ninth most-polluted city over unhealthy air quality

The objective was to assess the presence of toxic gases and their levels in the area. Levels of CO, NO, H2S, SO2, VOCs, O3, PM10, and PM2.5 were recorded and presented in the report.

The organisation recorded the following results during the monitoring:

GEL/via Geo.tv

The NO level, which should be a maximum of 40, was recorded at 191 near Railway Gate, while PM2.5, which should be a maximum of 75, was 103.

The PM10 and SO2 were registered at 147 and 123, as opposed to limits of 150 and 120, respectively.

GEL/via Geo.tv

The NO, SO2, PM10, and PM2.5 levels at the Clifton’s Sea View area were at 203, 169, 341, and 229, respectively, as opposed to a maximum of 40, 120, 150, and 75.

GEL/via Geo.tv

The NO, SO2, PM10 and PM2.5 levels at the near Ziauddin Hospital Kemari were at 784, 1420, 1155 and 533 as opposed to a maximum of 40, 120, 150 and 75 respectively.

GEL/via Geo.tv

The SEQS limit for CO and O3 were based on a one-hour average, while SEQS limit for NO, SO2, PM10, and PM2.5 was based on 24-hour average.

“The levels of all pollutants were found to be higher than the allowable limits when monitored around midnight near Ziauddin Hospital,” the report read.

Read more: Keamari gas leak death toll jumps to 14

“However, the main source of gas leakages and reason for fatalities is yet to be confirmed. The higher levels of pollutants at sea view area need to be assessed further as they may be due to local factors.” it added.

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