** People rescuing an injured passenger from inside a passenger bus hit by a truck on Dhaka-Mawa Expressway in Shologhar area of Shreenagar upazila in Munshiganj on Thursday. ** Motorcycles allowed on Padma Bridge after 10 months ** Commuters charge extra fare, passengers disappointed ** 78 people killed in Yemen stampede ** Moon sighting committee meets today to ascertain Eid day ** 9 killed in road accidents in 3 districts ** US announces new $325 m military aid package for Ukraine ** Eid-ul-Fitr in Saudi Arabia today ** Eid exodus begins ** LPG price cut illusive ** 15 hurt as bus overturns in capital ** New interbank cheque clearing timings set for Eid holidays ** Four women hit by a train die in Tangail ** 12.28 lakh SIM users left Dhaka on Tuesday ** Sylhet engineer threatened over power outage ** People rush to village homes to spend Eid holidays with their near and dear ones. This photo was taken from Sadarghat Launch Terminal on Tuesday. NN photo ** Surge in cases of dehydration, diarrhoea amid summer heat wave ** Padma Bridge construction cost increases by Tk 2,412cr ** PM gives Tk 90m to Bangabazar fire victims ** Textile workers block highway demanding wage, Eid bonus ** Attack on PM's motorcade Ex-BNP MP, 3 others get life term ** Load-shedding increases for demand of electricity during heat wave ** Motorbikes to be allowed on Padma bridge from Thursday ** 5-day Eid vacation begins from today ** Take Nangalkot train accident as a warning about negligence of govt functionaries **

Lung disease patients on the rise as Khulna grapples with air pollution

26 March 2023

Dhaka has long been grappling with severe air pollution. Air quality in some other major cities in Bangladesh, including Khulna, continues to deteriorate, posing serious health risks to the residents.
It's been a year since World Health Organization (WHO) launched a project to transform Khulna into a healthier city.
Besides, Khulna City Corporation (KCC) and other agencies concerned are also working to make the city a healthy one by 2027.
However, air pollution remains the biggest challenge in achieving that goal.
Although the air quality has been comparatively tolerable in the past few days, Khulna's overall air quality in the past few months has been "unhealthy".
Experts and officials concerned said dust from construction sites, smoke from old vehicles and use of toxic fuel are the major reasons behind the polluted air of the city.
As construction and renovation works are going on in different parts of the city the level of air pollution has increased, they said.
At the Boyra intersection in the city, air pollution levels in the city are being measured round-the-clock from the Continuous Air Monitoring Stations (CAMS) of the Department of Environment, which is published every day in the form of a report on CAMS' website.
According to CAMS' observation, Khulna's air quality was "extremely unhealthy" in November and December last.
On February 15, the CAMS cited the city's air quality as "extremely unhealthy" once again.
In addition, the air quality on March 17 and 18 was substantially worse than usual.

Experts say that the normal value of particulate matter in the air of a place or PPM (parts per million) is 150 cubic meters in 24 hours.

However, analysis of CAMS' report showed there have been over 250 cubic meters of particulate matter in Khulna's air in the last few months.

The number hit 400-450 cubic meters a few times during this period.

The UNB correspondent noticed the problem of air pollution while visiting various parts of the city.

Most of the roads from the city's Sonadanga area to Shaheed Sheikh Abu Naser Specialized Hospital and Khalishpur area are in still in bad shape.

Due to the ongoing construction work, air quality of the areas adjacent to these roads has become extremely unhealthy.

Meanwhile, the link roads from Joragate, Ahsan Ahmed road, Shamsur Rahman road, BIDC road, Khan Jahan Ali Road, Shipyard road, Mujgunni highway and Bus Terminal area of the city to Boyra, Notun Rasta, link roads close to the bus terminal have become dangerous due to excessive dust. Therefore, people are avoiding these areas and roads.

Tanvir Haydar, a senior chemist at the Department of Environment in Khulna, said due to the excessive dust being originated from the construction work, the amount of heavy particles are on the rise in the air.

"And exposure to such hazardous pollutants causes a variety of respiratory illnesses, such as cough and asthma," he added.

Dr Md Khosrul Alam, head of the Department of Respiratory Medicine at Khulna Medical College, said, "The number of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma patients in Khulna is believed to be increasing due to air pollution. If the amount of hazardous particles in the air is high, it easily damages the lungs every time a person breathes. As a result, various respiratory illnesses, including COPD, asthma, are increasing."

This chest specialist believes extensive research needs to be done in this regard.

Meanwhile, Dr Swapan Kumar Halder, chief health officer of Khulna City Corporation, said children are more vulnerable to respiratory disease such as asthma and pneumonia due to the air pollution.

Dr Mehedi Newaz, vice principal at Khulna Medical College, said construction works have been going on in the city to fix the problem of waterlogging and the development of road networks.

"Due to this reason, air pollution is increasing in the city. We are hoping that it will be resolved quickly. Meanwhile, any necessary action will be taken by addressing the issue at the next meeting," he said.

Contacted, Khulna City Corporation (KCC) Mayor Talukder Abdul Khaleque said: "We usually carry out the development projects in the dry season. Currently, majority of the city's areas are undergoing road and drainage maintenance work. As a result, the amount of dust has increased. Once the projects are completed, the air quality will be tolerable again as the monsoon is approaching."

Air pollution consistently ranks among the top risk factors for death and disability worldwide. Breathing polluted air has long been recognized as increasing a person's chances of developing a heart disease, chronic respiratory diseases, lung infections and cancer, according to several studies.

As per the World Health Organization (WHO), air pollution kills an estimated seven million people worldwide every year, largely as a result of increased mortality from stroke, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer and acute respiratory infections.

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