The port city has been among the top 10 most-polluted cities in the world since 2021 commenced, as per the Global Air Quality Index report. The air quality in Karachi was poor even in year 2020 as carbon emissions, industrial waste and burning thousands of tons of garbage have polluted the city’s air. Daily Times has learnt that an Air Quality Mobile Monitoring Laboratory was gifted by France under ‘Science and Technical Cooperation Program’ which could be moved anywhere in the city to check the atmosphere or air quality. This mobile system of the Sindh Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) has been out of order for over nine years, as the SEPA seems uninterested in measuring the ambient air quality data in Karachi or any other city of the province. The Air Quality Mobile Monitoring van among eight vehicles are dumped at the SEPA’s head office. According to sources in SEPA office, the condition of the permanent environment monitoring station installed on the roof of Korangi Industrial Estate’s office is the same as it has been out of order for over a decade and most of the station’s important equipment is either missing or destroyed due to no maintenance or repair. Another such station installed on the District Central deputy commissioner’s building near People’s Chowrangi has also been out of order for the past several years. This station was supposed to provide ambient air quality data from the district and the surrounding areas, but for the past several years it has been dead and no SEPA official has visited the place for years. In the absence of its functional air monitoring equipment and lack of expertise, SEPA relies on private laboratories for collecting samples and their analyses, and whenever ambient air quality data is required on any place in Karachi, SEPA requests private labs for ambient air quality monitoring. Deputy Director Abdullhah Magsi said that a formal request was sent to the federal environment department for the funds required to make these permanent and mobile stations functional, but yet not response adding that without the required funds, these stations can’t be made functional. He said the laboratory is functional and tests of water from different plants and factories are being done. “We are facing shortage of technical staff, that is why we give reports in at least 15 days,” he added. A SEPA official said that a few years ago, they had signed an agreement with the WWF-Pakistan for the evaluation of the environment monitoring stations, and the NGO’s experts estimated that Rs 30 million was required to make them functional. According to experts, the smoke produced by factories by burning coal, thousands of tonnes solid waste and garbage, oil or tyres enters the atmosphere but SEPA doesn’t show interest and makes lame excuses as lacks necessary equipment and expertise to measure the ambient air quality data in the city. Daily Times repeatedly contacted SEPA for its official version but none of the relevant officials responded to the requests.