Dhaka’s poor air quality

Citizens suffer from myriad diseases

Overall air quality status in Dhaka previously showed that winter was the most polluted season. But according to a study, the phenomena are changing in recent years.  Air pollution in the city reaches “unhealthy” level even before the winter sets in, exposing its residents to serious health hazards. According to an analysis of Air Quality Index data, Dhaka’s air remained unsuitable for breathing for a period of more than half of the last year.  The analysis reveals that the air quality in Dhaka remained “very unhealthy” and “extremely unhealthy” for 197 days.

One does not require to be an expert to understand Dhaka’s environmental perils that have been overwhelming this heaving capital over the years. Pollution and environmental challenges have occupied life and livelihood of the city dwellers to a greater extent. In Dhaka, with every breath we take in, we inhale a number of poisonous particulates. Dhaka’s air is highly polluted mainly due to brick kilns, unfit vehicles and unusual growth of dust from construction work, rundown roads which are taking heavy toll on the public health. Air pollution used to take nearly 8,000 lives a year just three years back, now it causes death to more than one lakh people every year. Also the current level of air pollution is responsible for the surge in various diseases like lung problems, cancer, respiratory troubles etc.

Policymakers should understand 

and underscore the need for formulating 

new policies to improve Dhaka’s toxic air.

It is not only people that suffer. Air pollution also damages nature and biodiversity. Clean air and water, pristine forests and rich flora and fauna are necessary for a high quality life, and must not be overlooked by policy-makers just because they are difficult to value in monetary terms.

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, therefore, feel that all the city authorities, including the two city corporations, should devise appropriate plans, ensure good governance and strictly enforce laws to reduce the extreme pollution in Dhaka. It’s time for the  policymakers to understand and underscore the need for formulating new policies to improve  Dhaka’s toxic air.