Ambient air quality standards in Pakistan

Attainment targets for ambient air quality should be harmonized with WHO Interim target 1. However systems for monitoring, prevention and control of air pollution need to be enhanced.

The Federal Environmental Protection Agency (Pak-EPA)1 establishes standards for the quality of ambient air by notification in the official Gazette, in consultation with the Provincial Agency concerned. The standards were last updated in 2010.

Sulphur Dioxide
SO2 (μg/m3)
Annual80Ultraviolet Fluorescence
Nitrogen Oxides
NOx (μg/m3)
Annual40Gas Phase Chemiluminescence
Nitrogen Dioxide
NO2 (μg/m3)
Annual40Gas Phase Chemiluminescence
O3 (μg/m3)
1-hour130Non-dispersive UV Absorption
Particulate Matter
SPM (μg/m3)
Annual360Beta-ray Absorption
Particulate Matter
PM10 (μg/m3)
Annual120Beta-ray Absorption
Particulate Matter
PM2.5 (μg/m3)
Annual15Beta-ray Absorption
Pb (μg/m3)
Annual1ASS using EPM 2000 or equivalent
Carbon Monoxide
CO (mg/m3)
8-hours5Non-dispersive Infrared
National Environmental Quality Standards for Ambient Air, Pakistan2

Annual arithmetic mean of minimum 104 measurements in a year, taken twice a week 24-hourly at uniform interval.

24-hourly and 8-hourly values should be met 98% of the [measurements] in a year. 2% of the time, it may exceed [target concentration] but not on two consecutive days.

Provincial standards are the same as the national standards, with the exception of Sindh3 for fine particulate matter PM2.5 at 40 μg/m3 for annual and 75 μg/m3 for 24-hours averages.

The responsible Environmental Protection Agencies are:

  1. Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency (Pak-EPA)
  2. Environment Protection Department, Punjab (EPD)
  3. Sindh Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA)
  4. Environmental Protection Agency, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (EPA-KP)
  5. Balochistan Environmental Protection Agency (BEPA)
  6. Azad Jammu and Kashmir Environmental Protection Agency
  7. Gilgit-Baltistan Environmental Protection Agency (GB-EPA)


  1. The Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency was established under the Pakistan Environmental Protection Act, 1997 which also establishes the equivalent Provincial Agencies. ↩︎
  2. Pakistan National Environmental Quality Standards for Ambient Air. The Gazette of Pakistan, 26 Nov. 2010, ↩︎
  3. Sindh Environment Protection Agency. Sindh Environmental Quality Standards. 28 Jan. 2016, Additionally, they allow that the annual average limit of 40 μg/m3 or background annual average concentration plus allowable allowance of 9 μg/m3, whichever is lower.