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Reduce air pollution to make Dhaka liveable

Published : Sunday, 26 May, 2024 at 12:00 AM  Count : 556

Reduce air pollution to make Dhaka liveable

Reduce air pollution to make Dhaka liveable

Dhaka has become worlds one of the least liveable cities. Even on a cloudless day, the capital feels like a cloudy day. Dust, smoke, and pollution in the air keep the sky of the entire capital dark.

In Dhaka, toxic smoke is floating like fog. Breathing is becoming difficult. Dhaka has emerged many time as the worlds top city in the list of air pollution since the beginning of last winter. Air pollution in Dhaka has increased by 19 percent in the winter season compared to the past. This has adversely affected the public health of Dhaka residents.

Research has revealed that 1 lakh 23 thousand people die every year in Bangladesh due to various types of pollution. Despite all this, no effective initiative is visible to prevent pollution. The question remains as it is whose responsibility to reduce the pollution. But at the end of the day, the onus is on the Ministry of Environment and the Department of Environment to resolve the matter.

In this case, the instructions of the highest court of the country to reduce pollution have also been ignored. Again, hundreds of crores of taka have been allocated to the project taken by the Department of Environment to prevent air pollution in the capital, but nothing is done. Sometimes the project stakeholders benefit, a portion of it goes into the pocket of the higher level officials, and the vehicles allotted in the name of the project are used for pleasure trips and family activities of the officials of the ministries and departments.

According to experts, it is necessary to take and implement effective and visible initiatives of the relevant ministries and departments. In this case, they have given importance to involving people who are experienced in the related matters, who work on the environment.

However, air pollution in Dhaka is increasing day by day. Especially development activities, brick kilns, waste burning, factories, and vehicles are responsible for black smoke pollution. In 2013, a study by the Environment Department said that brick kilns accounted for 58 percent of air pollution in Dhaka, road dust and soil dust accounted for 18 percent, vehicles accounted for 10 percent, biomass burning accounted for 8 percent, and other sources accounted for 6 percent.

Meanwhile, according to a survey by the Chemistry Department of Dhaka University, half of the air pollution is due to the smoke produced by burning liquid fuel. 40 percent of the pollution comes from the smoke and particles of organic matter like straw, and wood. The remaining 10 percent of pollution comes from smoke from burning coal in brick kilns.

There are no official statistics on how many people are affected by air pollution in the country. Doctors say, due to pollution, not only the lungs, but various organs are at risk. According to a research report titled Air Quality Life Index published by the Energy Policy Institute of the University of Chicago in September last year, the average life expectancy of people in Bangladesh has decreased by about five years and four months due to air pollution.

The amount of the most dangerous PM 2.5 in the countrys air is 14 times higher than the World Health Organizations recommended amount. Explaining the effect it has on the people of Dhaka, public health experts say that the polluted particles pass through the lungs and into the blood. It damages various organs including the liver, and kidney by going into the blood. It also affects hormones. As a result, on the one hand, respiratory diseases are occurring, on the other hand, various diseases of the respiratory system such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, and sore throat are increasing. Dizziness, headache, and nausea develop. Its effect increases the speed of the stomach. Air pollution causes male and female infertility problems.

In addition, exposure to polluted air in the human body increases the rate of miscarriage in pregnant women and increases the malformation of the unborn child. Because of this, the average life expectancy of people in a country like ours is reduced by an average of seven years. In the same way, our health is being damaged, and billions of labor hours are also being wasted nationally.

A professor at the National Institute of Mental Health said, that when people come in contact with polluted air, it enters the body and blood with the breath. It causes a lack of oxygen in the brain and the nerves do not work properly. Many people become irritable and unable to concentrate on any task. Many commit suicide in such situations. According to a study by the National Institute of Preventive and Social Medicine, 49 percent of the children whose parents took them to the Dhaka Childrens Hospital from last November to February suffered from respiratory problems.

According to children and women experts, if the unborn mother is exposed to air pollution, the child may be small in size, may be underweight, and may have mental and neurological problems. Air pollution is one of the causes of autistic children being born. They said that 28,000 people died in 20 months due to Corona, but 1,23,000 people die every year due to air pollution-related diseases. About 2 million people are affected by air pollution diseases every year.

According to the World Health Organization and the US Environmental Protection Agency EPA, a city with an air quality index of 200 is considered unhealthy. This can affect the health of everyone in the city. An AQI score of 201 to 300 is considered very unhealthy and is considered an emergency with a health warning. In this situation, children, elderly, and sick patients are advised to limit their activities inside the house and outside the house.

Air quality in Dhaka ranges from unhealthy to dangerous for five months of the year. The air pollution in Dhaka has increased by 19% during the winter season this year. Air quality in Dhaka was hazardous for six days last December. During these days, the air quality rises to 300 to 449 for 2-23 consecutive hours. Out of 21 days in January, Dhakas air quality was very unhealthy for 11 days, hazardous for three days, and unhealthy for seven days.
 
The writer is a journalist, General Secretary, Bangladesh Climate Change Journalists Forum







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