Environmental Pollution Monitoring

Pakistan is confronted with a number of severe environmental problems such as degradation of natural resources, industrial and vehicular pollution, pollution of marine environment, degradation of human health. Summarizing in monetary terms, the annual cost of environmental degradation in the country is about 4.3 % of GDP (US $ 4.3 billion). Specific examples are; air, land and water degradation, drought and desertification, water logging, forest depletion, loss of biodiversity, vehicular & industrial pollution and climate change.

The growing awareness and concerns about the impacts of environmental pollution have triggered a number of national and international actions in recent years. SUPARCO has carried out a several environmental studies, environmental impact assessments, pollutants emission, transport and transformation, preparation of source inventories, and environmental audits of industrial units and made policy recommendations for proper management of industrial pollution. Studies on important global issues such as global warming, ozone depletion, causes of thick winter fog, acid rain, effects of photochemical oxidants and aerosols characterization have been published in international journals. SUPARCO also provides environmental consultancy / services to various users.


  • Identify pollution sources & understand the role of pollutant transport and transformation
  • Undertake multidisciplinary research to supplement planning and development and provide support to national users, road transport sector, industries in public and private sectors
  • Source apportionment including local, distant and Tran boundary sources
  • Establish an air quality database that represents prevailing air quality in major cities
  • Environmental Impact Assessment of various projects

Air Pollution Monitoring

Realising the importance of clean air, SUPARCO has established fixed and mobile air quality monitoring facilities. These include state-of-the art US EPA designated ambient air monitoring equipment for sulphur dioxide, oxides of nitrogen, ozone, Hydrocarbons (methane & nonmethane), carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, noise, trace and anions, cations, total suspended particulates including PM10 & PM2.5. Facilities also exist for source emission monitoring.

Baseline (Ambient Air Quality) Study (ENERCON/UNDP)

The subject study was jointly undertaken by SEAL (Solution Environmental & Analytical Laboratory) and Pakistan Space & Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) in response to the initiative taken by FERTS (Fuel Efficiency in Road Transport Sector) PAK/92/G31, a Project of ENERCON and UNDP (United Nation Development Program). The purpose of this study was to establish a baseline through measurements of criteria pollutants in six major cities of Pakistan. This study covering four cycles (spread over twelve months) helped review the various measures that could be taken to mitigate the pollution impact and to make suggestions for the wider and more effective implementation of these measures.

Feasibility Study & Development of Transportation Control Plan of Karachi City (CDGK)

The purpose of this study is to create a baseline data to determine and estimate the extent of pollution and the damage done to health and living environment by road transport in the city. The study involved measurement of ambient air pollutants such as SO2, CO, CO2, O3, NOx, PM10, VOCs noise,  meteorological parameters such as wind speed/direction, temperature & humidity at each site.

The study also includes identification of remedial measures and the most appropriate action for abatement of environmental pollution from the transport sector. Twenty eight traffic congestion points including two reference points were selected for monitoring and analysis of air quality, groundwater, wastewater, soil, noise levels as well as health and socio-economic surveys throughout the Metropolitan city of Karachi.

The 26 observation points have, in view of the flow of vehicular traffic, been grouped into the following five corridors:
Corridor 1 Merewether Tower è Tibbet Center è Garden Road Intersection è Old Numaish è Tin Hatti è Liaqatabad # 10 è Karimabad è Sohrab Goth
Corridor 2 Merewether Tower è Burns Road è Preedy Street è Empress Market è Old Numaish
Corridor 3 Merewether Tower è Metropole Hotel è Finance & Trade Center è Drigh Road
Corridor 4 Merewether Tower è Teen Talwar è Sunset Boulevard è Korangi / Baloch Colony Intersection
Corridor 5 Merewether Tower è Karachi Port Trust è Mauripur Road è Nazimabad è North Nazimabad è Sohrab Goth

Environmental Impact Assessment for Public and Private Sectors

SUPARCO has also carried out environmental impact assessments for various public and private sector organisations. Such assessments were carried out under contractual agreements with Ministry of Environment, Environmental Protection Agencies (Federal & Provincial), City District Government, Karachi University, IUCN, World Bank, NGOs, Industries, Consultants (national & multinational).

Winter Fog Studies

During the last few winters (1998-2004), widespread fog has frequently occurred in northern India and north eastern parts of Pakistan, covering an area of 1500 km long. Fog thoroughly disrupted all human activities in the affected areas. SUPARCO conducted a study to investigate the composition of this fog and the influence of various climatic factors on fog formation. The main sources of fog causing compounds are SO3, CO, NO, NO2 and particulate carbon. These are emitted by combustion of fossil fuels in industries and especially in thermal power plants located in northern India. Other sources of these pollutants include refuse burning, open dump burning and emissions from automobiles.

More studies conducted by SUPARCO in environmental monitoring. See list of Projects