Dhaka's air is not fit for inhaling02 November 2022
Like the country's everyday road accidents, air pollution, particularly in Dhaka city, does not receive any attention from the government as if people's health and life does not matter to them. For the people who do not own a car, to call moving through the city is dangerous to their health is no description, it is killing them.
In Bangladesh people in general have less health awareness than developed regions of the world. If they could understand the extent of damage the polluted air is causing to their air circulation system including the vital lungs, they would not come out of their homes, or at least have worn face masks as they used to do for preventing the coronavirus during the Covid-19 pandemic for the last couple of years.
Dhaka's air is worsening with each passing day. According to a report of a national daily yesterday, the condition of the capital's air is more deadly than ever before with the concentration of Particulate Matter (PM) rising from 11.8 per cent from the past 24 years from 1995 to 2019 to its present 2.5. Only during the rainy season, air quality improves naturally as flying dust and other pollutants settle on the ground and everything gives a fresh look.
At present the winter is approaching, and the air has become thick with dust and inhalation of this air hurts the inside of the lungs. It is palpably felt. Air pollution in Dhaka now is 15 times higher than the WHO guidelines.
Taking advantage of the people's lack of awareness, authorities, especially the two city corporations as well as the health ministry, are not taking any step to drastically reduce air pollution. This is not acceptable. They must chalk out elaborate plans to reduce the particulate matter from the air. The particulate matter is the sum of all the solid and liquid particles suspended in air. Dust, pollen, soot as well as smoke and toxic gases make the complex mixture which is called the particulate matter.
That the ever going construction work in the capital is the source of the most dust in air cannot be overestimated. All construction sites must be brought under effective control so that they do not spread dust in the air. Similarly, smoke and toxic gases can also be reduced in air by controlling their sources such as unfit vehicles, brick kilns, and coal-fired plants.
The World Bank data says around 200,000 people die in Bangladesh every year because of air pollution related diseases. This number is far greater than the number of annual deaths from road accidents. Yet like road fatalities, air pollution is also one of the most unattended problems in Bangladesh. The government must change its present nonchalant attitude.