Federal Minister for Climate Change Senator Sherry Rehman on Thursday said the Ministry had issued official heatwave alert to all provinces as abrupt temperature rise would also jeopardise public health and agriculture. In a statement issued here, the minister criticised the previous regime for not taking adequate measures despite prior warnings issued by various international environmental watchdogs at the onset of the ongoing year. Sherry said, “The former government should have taken precautionary measures to deal with the heatwave as international organizations had warned of a severe and prolonged heatwave in the region”. The minister said the South Asia, including the world, was facing a severe heatwave this year. “The temperature in the border areas of Pakistan and India is expected to go up to 49 to 50 degrees Celsius”, Sherry Rehman added. “Extreme heatwaves are a sign of climate change and global warming. Pakistan has been facing an unexpected heat wave since March”, she mentioned. She further said that the temperatures in Pakistan were likely to rise by 6 to 8 degrees Celsius which was more than usual this year. According to the Meteorological Department, this year was the hottest month since March 1961, she added. While enunciating the global warming impacts recorded this year, she said the rainfall in March alone was 62 percent less than normal. In 2018, Nawabshah became the hottest city in the world in the month of April when mercury went above 50 degrees Celsius, she underscored. She urged the masses to take precautionary measures to avoid extreme heat. Air quality healthy in Capital as traffic declines during Ramazan: The air quality of the federal capital on Thursday was recorded healthy as hazardous air pollutants were far below the permissible limits in the atmosphere due to reduced vehicular traffic during Ramzan. The air quality data has been collected by the Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency (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 16.6 micro grammes 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. However, a slight jump in previous days was mainly due to congestion of automobiles plying on the roads owing to Ramzan timings during the peak working hours, he added. The nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and sulphur dioxide (SO2) were recorded below permissible ratio as it were recorded 6.04 and 18.6 microgrammes per cubic meter in past 24 hours in the atmosphere against the NEQS of 80 and 120 microgrammes 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.