Air pollution is responsible for about 20 per cent of the total premature deaths in Bangladesh and Dhaka is one of the world’s 10 worst cities in terms of air pollution, said a World Bank report on Tuesday. The report titled "Striving for Clean Air: Air Pollution and Public Health in South Asia", says concentrations of fine particulate matter such as soot and small dust (PMs) in some of the region's most densely populated and poor areas are up to 20 times higher than the World Health Organization (WHO) standard (5 ugim).
Pollution and environmental challenges have occupied life and livelihood of the Dhakaities to a greater extent. Over the last years, air pollution has turned into a major public health concern in Dhaka and it has repeatedly been labelled as one of the 10 most polluted cities in the world and because of construction work going on the year round there is no sign of the situation improving any time soon.
Policymakers should understand
and underscore the need for
formulating new policies to
curb air pollution
It is startling to note that about 20 per cent of the total annual deaths in the country are associated with air pollution. Reportedly, children between the ages of 1-4 years and the elderly between 60-95 are the most vulnerable groups. Deaths from diseases related to air pollution have risen by 9 per cent over the last 20 years. However, our city authorities hitherto have not taken any consistent and prudent action to address air pollution in the capital.
It is worth mentioning that the current level of air pollution in Dhaka is responsible for the rise of various diseases like lung problems, cancer, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, respiratory problems etc. Policymakers should understand and underscore the need for formulating new policies to curb air pollution. Air pollution should be a key issue that authorities concerned must address in the sphere of sustainable construction.
It is time to implement necessary laws to compel the builders and constructors to build roads and buildings following rules and regulations. The government, policy makers, civil society, the private sector and even individuals must play their role to control unusual growth of dust as well as other air pollutants.
Improvements in energy efficiency, increased use of less or non-polluting renewable sources of energy are examples of measures that will benefit both air quality and the climate. We hope the city planners will frame appropriate strategies, ensure good governance and strictly enforce laws to reduce the extreme pollution in Dhaka.