The air quality monitoring in the federal capital has improved after induction of the modern gadgets in the pollution gauging equipment of the Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency (Pak-EPA). The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) has handed over specialised equipment known as Environmental Dust Monitor to the Pak-EPA that can monitor very fine particles suspended in the air injurious to human health, an official of the environmental watchdog told APP while elaborating the details of the latest equipment. He said that the air quality of the federal capital on Tuesday was reported consistently healthy since the past week as the ratio of air pollutants was recorded below the permissible limits in the atmosphere due to reduced vehicular traffic in peak hours. He said that the air pollutants mainly these fine particles, known as Particulate Matter (PM), can be of size 10micrometers (PM10), 2.5micrometres (PM2.5) and 1micrometer (PM1). “When compared to a human hair, PM10 is 1/7th the width of human hair while PM2.5 is 1/30th of it. Such fine particles suspended in the air can originate from multiple sources, including dust; fire smoke; chemicals and pollutants from cars, trucks, buses, industries and brick kilns; construction sites, etc.”, he said. More importantly, particles fine in size can be dangerous to human health because they can be easily inhaled through breathing and can disrupt biological functions after entering human lungs and blood stream. The Environmental Dust Monitor will work under optical principle where less efforts and better data can be obtained and based on its results, Pak-EPA plans to recommend this equipment for air quality monitoring in areas where smog is a continuous challenge in Pakistan, he added. Meanwhile, he said the air quality data has been collected by the Pak-EPA that 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 low as the pollutants were far less than 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 12.73 micrograms per cubic meter on average which is below the NEQS of 35 mic-programmes per cubic meter and denotes the air quality healthy. The PM2.5 is generated through combustion of an engine, industrial emissions, burning garbage or inflammable material, and dust blown up by fasting moving cars plying on non-cemented patches of the roads. The nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and sulphur dioxide (SO2) were recorded below permissible ratio as it were recorded 6.57 and 21.55 micrograms per cubic meter in past 24 hours in the atmosphere against the NEQS of 80 and 120 micrograms 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 diseases and other critical heart or lungs diseases to avoid prolonged outdoor visits and wear face coverings and goggles when the air quality is unhealthy while venturing outdoors.