It's dangerous to breathe.
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 November 13th, 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 not assessing the air quality using measures in line with international standards. This means people are not adequately warned or equipped 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.
The government’s failure to adequately protect people from exposure to this air puts their human rights at risk, including their rights to health and life.
A 2018 World Health Organization report has shown that children are especially vulnerable to the health impacts of hazardous air, because of their developing lungs which require twice as much oxygen, and as a result are consistently falling sick because of the air they breathe. Life expectancy is already thought to be reduced by 5 years for the people living in Lahore as a result of the poor air quality.