As per doctors’ advice, Abdul Azad, a senior citizen who has been suffering from osteoporosis and obesity for long, was to walk for at least an hour every day. But Mr Azad has been compelled to skip his exercise due to extreme dust pollution as he is also an asthma patient, and much of the capital’s Mirpur area where he lives in is covered with dust, especially in winter.
Like Azad, a lot of city dwellers have to deal every day with dust pollution in the capital. With the emergence of dry season, the situation of dust pollution in Dhaka gets worse. Experts say that children and elderly are the most vulnerable to dust pollution.
Dust pollution has no longer been an environmental problem. It has become a public health concern these days in Bangladesh. Immediate steps should be taken to control air pollution caused by dust. Also strict laws should be integrated to punish those who are responsible for air pollution, said environment and health experts.
While travelling in different parts of the capital, this correspondent found dust swirling almost everywhere in the capital due to construction of a number of development projects and also buildings all around.
According to sources, capital’s Mirpur, Bhasantek, Gulshan, Bashundhara Residential, Rampura, Moddho Badda, Mouchak, Malibagh, Moghbazar, and Jatrabari are some of the many areas where the menace is more intensified.
Experts blame development works, including building construction, road digging for sewerage line and the mismanagement of construction materials for dust pollution in different parts of the capital.
According to a World Health Organisation (WHO) report, over 37,000 Bangladeshis die annually of diseases related to air pollution. Lung specialists warn that dust pollution is making Dhaka hazardous, particularly for children and the elderly.
While talking to Bangladesh Post, Founder Chairman of Bangladesh Environmental Journalists Association (BEJA) Shamsuddin Ahmed said unregulated construction sites, car emissions and dirt on roads are mostly accountable for the intensifying of dust in the air. These factors are increasing the number of hazardous particles in the air.
Dr Shahed Imran, a health expert, told Bangladesh Post that Dhaka is one of the most polluted cities in the world. The number of patients suffering from respiratory diseases such as bronchitis, lung cancer, asthma, and lower respiratory infection has been on a constant rise in the capital due mainly to increasing dust pollution.
He added that a long-term exposure to dust pollution provokes lung cancer and development or progression of chronic illness.
Experts envisage that it is possible to control the unusual rise of density of dust if the authorities concerned put forth their efforts in a coordinated way.
While talking to Bangladesh post, Dr Razzak said people are getting affected with various diseases like cold, bronchitis, lung problems due to dust pollution. People should practise wearing masks during travelling outside to stay safe from dust pollution.
Environment experts suggest the government should integrate quick measures to check pollution caused by building construction, brick kilns, and car emissions.
Experts also opine that necessary laws should be implemented to compel the builders and constructors and workers to build roads and buildings following rules and regulations.
Environmentalists said that the authorities concerned, including the Department of Environment (DoE), should devise concrete actions to strengthen its monitoring system in order to reduce dust pollution in the capital’s air.