Dhaka once again has been included in the list of top world cities with the worst air quality on Friday morning. With an air quality index (AQI) score of 317 at 8am today, Dhaka ranked first in the list of cities with worst air. An AQI between 151 and 200 is said to be ‘unhealthy’ while 201 and 300 is considered ‘very unhealthy’, and 301 to 400 is considered 'hazardous’.
Air pollution is killing around 80,000 people every year in Bangladesh, according to a recent World Bank report. Exposure to high levels of air pollution significantly raises the risks of breathing difficulties, cough, lower respiratory tract infections, as well as depression and other health conditions.
Children under five years, the elderly, and people with comorbidities such as diabetes, and heart or respiratory conditions, are most vulnerable. Reportedly, air pollution was the second largest risk factor leading to deaths and disability in Bangladesh in 2019.
It is time to implement necessary
laws to compel the builders and
constructors to build roads
and buildings following rules
Pollution and environmental challenges have occupied life and livelihood of the Dhakaities to a greater extent. Over the last years, air pollution has turned into a major public health concern in Dhaka and it has repeatedly been labelled as one of the 10 most polluted cities in the world and because of construction work going on the year round there is no sign of the situation improving any time soon.
Our city authorities hitherto have not taken any consistent and prudent action to address air pollution in the capital. Policymakers should understand and underscore the need for formulating new policies to curb air pollution. Air pollution should be a key issue that authorities concerned must address in the sphere of sustainable construction.
It is time to implement necessary laws to compel the builders and constructors to build roads and buildings following rules and regulations. The government, policy makers, civil society, the private sector and even individuals must play their role to control unusual growth of dust as well as other air pollutants. 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 hope the city planners will frame appropriate strategies, ensure good governance and strictly enforce laws to reduce the extreme pollution in Dhaka.