Factory smoke in Pakistan.

Factory smoke is the main source of pollution in the air. Punjab, Pakistan. Photo: Amir Mukhtar / Getty Images .

Toxic air kills around 128,000 people a year in Pakistan, according to Fair Finance Asia-Pakistan. In February alone, 19 people, including children, lost their lives  in Karachi’s Keamari area due to respiratory failure. Despite flawed investigations, experts insist  that the deaths are linked to toxic emissions and poor air quality.

Lahore and Karachi, two of Pakistan’s largest cities, rank among the top 10  cities for the world’s poorest air quality. The air is literally killing us, and it is about time we hit the brakes and take serious action to make Pakistan liveable again for its people.

Air pollution, which is among the largest risks to public health , and climate change are inextricably linked global issues. The sources contributing to emissions of air pollutants and climate-warming gases are often the same. This linkage presents an opportunity to deal with these two globally pressing challenges of air pollution and climate change together.

Compelled by this evidence, the federal cabinet on Thursday approved Pakistan’s first National Clean Air Policy, as recommended by the Ministry of Climate Change. So where do we go from here?

Chris Malley has supported over 25 countries as part of SEI’s engagement in the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, supporting the National Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Action Planning (SNAP) initiative to increase national capacity to take action to achieve low emission development.