Readers’ Voice15 November 2020
Air Pollution: A Silent Killer
According to a global report from the US-based Health Effects Institute and Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation that South Asia is the most polluted region in the world in terms of air. The situation is especially dire in Bangladesh, with air pollution leading to 1.73 lakh deaths in the last year, and with the entire population living in areas where the air quality is not considered safe at all. The report also mentioned that air pollution has become the second leading health risk factor after high blood pressure in Bangladesh, and that our life expectancy would have seen the highest expected gain of nearly 1.3 years if the air pollution level met the WHO guidelines.
One of the major causes for Dhaka to dominate the list of most polluted cities in the world is the rise in commercial and construction activities in recent years. The two major sources of air pollutants in the city come from industrial and vehicular emissions. The vicinity of Dhaka has around 2,295 brick kilns which emit fine particles in the air. Also sharing the blame for air pollution, the ongoing metro rail construction project has led to traffic congestions in most of the significant parts of the city.
Apart from that, smoking, burning of fossil fuels from air conditioners, coal-fired power plants and outdoor burning - burning of municipal and agricultural waste - emit nitrogen oxides rendering the air quality of the metropolis "unhealthy" which acts as a silent killer.
Air pollution is not just an environmental issue; it is a major source of public health plight and at this stage, the authorities should treat it as an emergency and take immediate steps.
Md. Zillur Rahaman