PESHAWAR: The air pollution level in provincial metropolis, Peshawar has exceeded World Health Organization (WHO)’s quality guidelines by 12 to 16 times, leaving considerable impact on health of city dwellers by reducing life expectancy up to 2.3 years. This startling revelation has been made by a recent study on air quality of Peshawar jointly organized by Peshawar Clean Air Alliance (PCAA), a volunteer association of civil society individuals sharing a common vision of improved air quality of Peshawar with support of Sustainable Energy and Economic Development (SEED). The study, first ever in Pakistan covering specifically a provincial metropolis, titled as `Status of Air Pollution in Peshawar’ was launched here at a ceremony held at a local hotel. The study finds that annual PM2.5 in Peshawar has ranged between 61.40 µg/m and 80.09 µg/m , exceeding the current National and Provincial standards by 4-5 times, and the WHO air quality guidelines by 12-16 times. “Peshawar district covers an area of 1,518 km and is home to approximately five million People while the Air-Quality Life Index (AQLI) estimates that citizens of Peshawar can add up to 2.3 years to their life-expectancy, if PM2.5 levels meet World Health Organization (WHO) Guidelines,” adds the study. The major sources of pollution are transport (58.46 percent), industry (6.58 percent), domestic (11.66 percent), dust (17.67 percent), solid-fuel usage (1.49 percent) and municipal waste burning (4.10 percent). The transport sector emits pollution both due to the use of poor quality fuel available in retail and the absolute number of vehicles on the roads. Motor vehicles undergo significant wear-and-tear over their operational life and release particulate, particularly through brake pads and reduced engine performance. Between 2012 and 2020, the number of registered vehicles in Peshawar rose by 85%, while the largest increase (168.8%) is noted in motorbikes and scooters, it continued. “The primary purpose of this report is to serve as a guide to Air pollution trends and its sources in the Peshawar region,” comments Dr. Omar Mukhtar Khan, Team Leader SEED Programme while speaking at launching ceremony of the report. The report is a welcome start to a journey towards improving our understanding of air pollution in Peshawar and provides insights into the composition, variation and sources of air pollution in the city, Dr. Omar added. He also disclosed that SEED and PCAA is also working to prepare a comprehensive report on impact of air pollution on health of residents of Peshawar. The report is a first-step towards developing detailed data-sets and analysis, which inform policy interventions for Air-quality management in the region. “This Status of Air Pollution in Peshawar (SAPP) report addresses the voids in data, pertinent indicators, and analyzes evidence to provide input for a Peshawar Air-Quality Management Plan (PAQMP),” comments Dr. Adil Zareef, Convener of PCAA while speaking at the launching ceremony. The study finds that highest annual PM2.5 war recorded in Peshawar in year 2018 at 80.09ug/m3. The city does not have an air quality monitoring network and real time data is unavailable at public. Air pollution monitoring is mandated to Environment Protection Agency (EPA) KP which lacks capacity and apparatus necessary to perform these duties. Based on findings, the study recommends Expanding monitoring capacity, increase public awareness, Encouraging higher Public Transport usage through better accessibility, incentives, and public Communications, Developing alternative and/or subsidized heating methods to curtail wood-burning, Behavioral change campaigning, Aligning Urban Forestation for Air Quality management and increasing role of civil society, universities, startups and private sector. This study also proposes development of a Peshawar Air Quality Management Plan (PAQMP). This will be a first-of-its-kind policy document in Pakistan, focusing on the multi-sectoral challenge of poor air quality in an urban setting. As a starting point, a minimum of 10 low-cost monitors need to be deployed around the city to record PM2.5 levels, along with at least 1 reference-standard air-quality monitoring station situated in the Peshawar (Hayatabad) Economic Zone to measure PM, NOx, SO2, and COx levels, the study suggests. The real-time data generated should also be made available to the public through online signboards and screens placed at public spaces, industrial areas, and intersections. ‘Car-pooling’ may be introduced as a government policy, which enshrines that private cars with less than two-thirds occupancy may not be allowed during peak-hours, as it may discourage individual use of cars for daily journeys.