Coordinated effort to curb temperature in Dhaka city a must

Published : 04 Oct 2023 10:30 PM

Bushra Afreen, Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center’s appointed chief heat officer at Dhaka North City Corporation; has said that coordinated initiative is a must to control temperature in Dhaka city. “Coordinated initiative can reduce the temperature in the city,” she said.

Bushra Afreen said these while speaking as special guest at a roundtable discussion on “Rising Temperature in Urban Areas: Causes and Solutions” at Press Institute Bangladesh (PIB) in the city on Wednesday (October 4, 2023).

Center for Atmospheric Pollution Studies (CAPS) and Bangladesh Resource Center for Indigenous Knowledge (BARCIK) jointly organised the event with Vice President of Bangladesh Paribesh Andolan (BAPA) and Chairman of Department of Geography and Environment of Dhaka University Professor M. Shahidul Islam in the chair.

Advocate Khodeza Nasreen Akhter Hossain, MP, attended the event as the chief guest, while Emeritus Professor of Stamford University Bangladesh M Feroz Ahmed attended as a special guest. Chairman of Center for Atmospheric Pollution Studies (CAPS) Professor Dr. Ahmad Kamruzzaman Majumder delivered the keynote speech. The roundtable was moderated by the Director of Education, Culture and Diversity of Bangladesh Resource Center for Indigenous Knowledge (BRCIK) Pavel Partho.

In her speech, Advocate Khodeza Nasreen Akhter Hossain, MP, said that we all must work to protect the environment. For this, the public should come forward along with the government.

Professor Dr. M. Shahidul Islam specified that all we can do at this point is adaptation. A factor playing a huge role is the capitalistic approach alongside population growth.

We don’t have to plant trees but cutting them down needs to be stopped; we don’t need to create ponds, but filling the existing ones needs to be discouraged. We don’t require any more knowledge, its high time for implementation now. Sometimes, we need to stop and reflect on our life and actions. Let us have a vibration in our development and a clean, green and peaceful heart.

In the keynote speech, Professor Dr. Ahmad Kamruzzaman Majumder mentioned in his keynote speech that while there are many global factors contributing to rising temperatures, local factors are key. Therefore, local factors should be given priority in temperature regulation.

He made some recommendations to control the increasing temperature of Dhaka.

The recommendations include; 1) Plants directly reduce heat and carbon emissions, so every free space in the city should be planted and trees and rooftop garden should be grown 2) In addition to the ornamental trees in the road dividers, various useful trees such as fruits, forest, medicinal herbs should be planted as per the advice of the flora, soil and environmental experts based on the land type 3) Development projects should not involve tree removal but tree relocation, as is done in developed countries. Where development is mandatory, tree relocation should be arranged through planning. If individual tree relocation is not possible, replanting should be done after assessing the biomass and ecological value of each tree 4) The quantity of reservoirs in Dhaka should be increased and occupied reservoirs and wetlands should be recovered 5) Various surfaces that retain heat such as roads, roofs of buildings and structures, walls, roofs and vehicles etc. should be painted to reflect light and heat 6) Air pollution traps heat. During this extreme heat, water can be sprinkled using science-based methods in the busiest areas, which will also reduce air pollution.

Professor M Feroz Ahmed said, the latitude of all the deserts in the world is the same as that of Bangladesh. The water in the rivers and seas around our country evaporates and condenses to form rain. As a result, desert conditions are not created in Bangladesh. We should consider environment first when we think about any development work.

 In her speech Bushra Afreen mentioned that high temperature is increasing the physical and mental illness of people. El Nino will keep coming and next year's summer will be hotter than this year. We are planning to build city network and working on climate migration. We have to adapt as much as possible and find ways of mitigation. We need to be prepared to deal with this complex natural problem like climate change. Coordinated initiative can reduce the temperature in Dhaka city.

Director General of Press Institute Bangladesh (PIB) Zafar Wazed said that most of the walls of the beauty enhancing buildings that are being constructed at present are made of glass which is contributing to increasing the temperature of the city. Therefore, before every development activity we have to think about public health and we have to take steps accordingly. 

CAPS Scientific Officer Eng. Marziat Rahman said, to ensure a liveable world for future generations, we should requires giving researchers and young people the opportunity to work. 

The executive director of the Coalition for the Urban Poor (CUP) Rebecca Sun-Yat, the coordinator of the Bangladesh Resource Center for Indigenous Knowledge (BARCIK) Mr. Md. Jahangir Alam, Work for a Better Bangladesh Trust (WBB) Trust Director Gaus Peary, Abul Kalam Azad Manager, FGGIII Resilience and Climate Justice, Action Aid, Mahmuda Parveen, Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental Science, Stamford University Bangladesh, Senior Lecturer, Department of Environmental Science, Stamford University Bangladesh, Mahmuda Islam, Assistant Director, CAPS, Stamford University Bangladesh is a lecturer in the Department of Environmental Science. Research Coordinator of Humayun Kabir, Poribesh Uddog Eng. Nasir Ahmmed Patoary and Rummana Afroz Dipti, gender Analyst, Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association also joined the discussion in the round table. Also, members of other Environmental Organizations including CAPS researcher and representatives from the Bangladesh Resource Center for Indigenous Knowledge (BARCIK) attend the round table.