This study provides the first systematic data on the distribution of organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) in the soils and atmosphere of the Punjab province, Pakistan. Atmospheric concentrations of OCPs were estimated by using the polyurethane foam passive air sampling (PUF-PAS) technique. DDTs (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane), HCHs (hexachlorocyclohexane) and chlordane were the dominant OCPs found in both soil and air samples. The average concentrations of DDTs, HCHs and chlordane were 350, 55 and 99 pg m− 3 in air and 40, 7.8 and 3.8 ng g− 1 in soils, respectively. Air–soil exchange of OCPs was estimated by calculating the fugacities in soil and air. Fugacity fraction (ff) values indicate that soils are acting as a secondary source to contaminate the atmosphere at certain sampling stations.