City Mayors have no time to go around the capital city to see how shameful is the condition


THE experts at a webinar on 'Town Planning for Public Health' while observing World Town Planning Day 2020 on Sunday blamed various factors including air, water and noise pollution, poor waste management, grabbing of natural water-bodies and rising temperature of the cities for the increase in incidence of various communicable and non-communicable diseases in the urban areas.
Other factors including overcrowded cities and fall in greeneries along with pressure of daily life in the cities have been contributing in the declining mental and physical health of people, they observed. The experts suggested controlling population density immediately, ensuring facilities and utility services for the citizens, creating parks, playgrounds, open spaces and water-bodies and planning future cities by giving priority to public health.
Various actions including fast urbanisation, pollution, garbage, rising temperature and loss in the natural water-bodies combined with stress of urban life have been contributing in health risk in the cities. Yet the remedies are easy to fix. Both our city corporations have failed abysmally to correct Dhaka's perennial problems. The Global Liveability Index 2019 has placed Bangladesh capital Dhaka as the third least livable city in the world, just after war-torn Syrian capital Damascus and Lagos--its no surprise, as it ranks consistently in the top three, a dubious distinction.
While millions of people around the world in cities like Dhaka have been battling life threatening air pollution to survive, people in the city of Rajshahi breathe clean air and revel in their pollution free, green environment. People of the city regularly walk, jog, and run along the Padma River to keep fit, and use clean roads without needing any masks. Pedestrians use grassy footpaths lined with flowers and residents soak up the serene beauty of the greenery around them.
However, this pronounced change did not come about overnight.  A number of initiatives taken by the city corporation, have contributed to reducing the harmful particulate matter in the air and making the city more green and liveable. An army of city corporation sweepers work day and night to keep the city roads free of dust and dirt. Garbage is collected daily and dumped only in designated places. A well planned park was established on the abandoned bank of the Padma river and tiles were used on the pathways. Now there is much less dust in the air and people who come to the area for recreation can enjoy themselves.
The efforts of the authorities have been lauded by many. The city was recognized as the most successful city in the world in reducing harmful particles PM10 and PM2.5 in the air in 2014-16, according to World Health Organization (WHO) report. The city was also awarded the National Environmental Award in 2013 and bagged several awards for tree planting. Our City Corporations could learn a lot from Rajshahi city.