Dust pollution has emerged as a major public health concern in the capital in this winter.
Environment and health experts suggested that authorities concerned take an effective action plan and strengthen its monitoring system to reduce the dust pollution across the city.
They also warned about the long-term respiratory diseases as well as serious health problems due to dust pollution.
While visiting different city areas including Kalshi, Mirpur, Mugdha, Shahjahanpur, Jatrabari, Gabtoli, and Savar, this correspondent found dust was whirling everywhere due to unplanned construction of roads, buildings, footpaths and the absence of monitoring and enforcement of laws.
According to World Health Organisation (WHO) report, published in May this year, Dhaka’s air quality has been ranked as third most polluted [population of 14 million or more] in the world.
In 2016, the WHO also reported that over 37,000 Bangladeshis die annually from diseases related to air pollution.
Another report conducted by 1800 scientists of different university of USA reveals that Bangladeshi people lose about 2 years of average lifespan due to air pollution.
Public health expert Dr Lelin Chowdhury told Bangladesh Post, “Dust contains small particles, contaminated with germs and chemical materials that enter the lung and make serious reparatory problems. “
About various diseases spreading by dust pollution, he said, “Dust pollution also causes chronic lung diseases like asthma, tuberculosis, influenza, lung cancer, and many other breathing problems.”
“Dhaka has already become the 2nd most dust polluted city in the world which is very disgraceful to us”, he added.
Dr Lelin, also the Joint General Secretary of Poribesh Bachao Andolon (POBA) suggested taking both governmental and personal initiative with a view to alleviating from dust pollution.
He also advised using musk, spraying water in the dust polluted areas, covering construction area, and locating brick field at outdoor areas in this regard.
Dr Imrul Haque of the ENT department of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University said the number of patients suffering from: asthma, pneumonia, obstructive lung diseases, bronchitis, lung cancer, and lower respiratory infections is increasing in Dhaka due to growing dust pollution and the situation become worsen during this dry season.
Talking to Bangladesh Post environment and climate change expert Ainun Nishat, said, “The dust pollution takes a serious turn during the dry season every year that seriously affecting public health.”
Ainun Nishat, also the Professor Emeritus at BRAC University, said, “If the authorities concerned play their role accordingly, it is possible to control unusual growth of dust as well as other air pollution.
The environment expert said the government needs to take quick measures to check pollution by brick kilns, vehicles and road and building construction.
Ainun Nishat thinks the roads in the capital city need to be swept with water every day, especially during the dry season, to minimise the dust pollution.
“If you look at rooms at city homes or offices, you’ll see a layer of dust, which is later transmitted into human body.”
Besides, he said, relevant laws should be enforced strictly to force the builders and constructors to build roads and buildings following rules and regulations like covering construction sites and spraying water to control dust.
Department of Environment (DoE) Director (Air Quality Management) Ziaul Haque earlier said five major reasons are behind the worsening air pollution-brick kiln, construction, road digging, building construction, black smoke of vehicles, and waste and cement.
He said they have sent a letter to different agencies and bodies, including Rajuk, two city corporations, LGED, Public Works department, Housing authorities, Titas Gas and Real Estate and Housing Association of Bangladesh (Rehab) to sign deals with builders and constructors to prevent dust pollution during the construction of building, roads and implementing other development projects.
The DoE director said a coordinated effort by all the relevant departments and agencies is a must to ensure proper monitoring and take effective steps and their implementation to reduce dust pollution.