Reducing air pollution must be top priority
Last Wednesday an environmental research group said that the global air pollution stemming from fossil fuel causes 96,000 premature deaths in Bangladesh every year while costing $8 billion a day, or roughly 3.3 per cent of the entire world's economic output. The revelation is upsetting. The new figure is in line with World Health Organization's (WHO) estimates of 4.2 million deaths each year which are linked to ground-level air pollution, mostly from heart disease, stroke, lung cancer and acute respiratory infections in children. Most of the city dwellers have been forced to wear masks from inhaling polluted air.
It is a fact that air pollution level in the capital Dhaka is taking an alarming turn day by day. Severe air pollution is affecting around 90 per cent of Dhaka city residents. Dust pollution tends to increase terrifyingly in the dry season as brickfields run their operation in full swing. Additionally, civic bodies and the utility service providers are engaged in repair works.
There is no scope to ignore the diseases caused by air pollution every year. Perennial construction work and faulty garbage disposal system are the main reasons behind air pollution in the capital. There is hardly any respite from construction-related works such as concrete crushing and road stone crushing. Physicians have come up with repeated warnings to take measures to improve quality of air of the cities and towns to escape health hazards arising out of air pollution, but unfortunately, nothing tangible has been done to address this formidable problem. Exposure to fine particles in polluted air that penetrate deep into the lungs and cardiovascular system causes stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases and respiratory infections, including pneumonia. Children and elderly people are the worst victims of air pollution.
Engines of vehicles are releasing different kinds of micro-pollutants through the exhaust smoke.
In view of the current situation, the concerned authorities should take immediate steps to clean Dhaka's air. All the factors contributing to Dhaka's worsening air pollution, including use of unfit vehicles that emit noxious fumes, mismanagement of waste, unplanned public works, among others, must be addressed, and the authorities involved with the construction of large infrastructure projects should take measures to reduce their pollution footprint. It is high time we rolled up our sleeves and got down to work to eliminate this menace. In fact , reducing air pollution must be the top priority in the new year.