Air Quality has significantly degraded in urban centers in Pakistan. Major cities in Pakistan continue to be ranked as some of the most polluted cities in the world. The country has an average AQI of 153 (Unhealthy) in 2020; ranked as the second most polluted country in the world. Major sources of pollution include vehicular and industrial emissions. A study conducted by Pakistan EPA with the assistance of JICA revealed that inhalable suspended particulate matter in the air was 10 times greater than the WHO specified limits. The cost of damage to natural resources is estimated to be PKR 365 billion per annum.

Unlike climate change, the air quality of a particular region is dependent on the local practices of controlling air emissions, types of industrial and agricultural practices, and the geophysical conditions. A highly publicized activity is the burning technique used to clear the fields following harvesting in rural locations in both India and Pakistan. This activity is thought to be responsible for bad air quality in landlocked Punjab regions.

In March 2020, as a precautionary measure to control the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the Government of Pakistan imposed a nationwide lockdown. This led to the temporary closure of non-essential manufacturing and industrial activity, and a marked reduction in transportation. During this period, there was a corresponding improvement in air quality. Based on this observation, it can be inferred that as the patterns of agricultural activity continued uninterrupted transport and industry both contribute highly to air pollution.

Centre of Excellence in Responsible Business (CERB) surveyed in 2019 on how the private sector viewed its responsibility concerning air quality management. In 2020, CERB surveyed how corporate policies related to ESG have changed following COVID-19. Based on these results, a way forward can be identified based on international best practices.