Alarming air pollution

Time to formulate new policies to improve the capital’s air quality

Overall air quality status in Dhaka previously showed that winter was the most polluted season. But according to a study, things are changing in recent years.  Air pollution in the city reaches “unhealthy” level even before the winter sets in, exposing its residents to health risks.

Pollution and environmental challenges have occupied life and livelihood of the Dhakaities to a greater extent. It needs no emphasizing that Dhaka’s inherently dusty air is made worse by countless unregulated construction sites – and the production of bricks and concrete to feed them. Air pollution has turned into a major public health concern in the capital and because of construction work going on the year round there is no sign of the situation improving any time soon.

Air pollution used to take nearly 8,000 lives a year just three years back, now it causes death to more than 1 lakh people every year. Also the current level of air pollution is responsible for the rise of various diseases like lung problems, cancer, respiratory  problems etc.

Necessary laws should immediately be implemented to 

compel the builders, constructors, and construction workers 

to build roads and buildings following rules and regulations

In Dhaka, air pollution should be a key issue that authorities concerned must address in the sphere of sustainable construction, indeed not only for the sake of environment, but also public health. Necessary laws should immediately be implemented to compel the builders, constructors, and construction workers to build roads and buildings following rules and regulations. 

Improvements in energy efficiency, increased use of less-or non-polluting renewable sources of energy are examples of measures that will benefit both air quality and the climate. We, therefore, feel that all the city authorities including of the two city corporations should devise appropriate plans, ensure good governance and strictly enforce laws to reduce the extreme pollution in Dhaka. 

It is time for the policymakers to understand and underscore the need for formulating new policies to improve Dhaka’s toxic air. No person, group, city, country or region can solve the problem alone. We need strong commitments and actions from everyone: government, Policy makers, civil society, the private sector and even the individual.