Dhaka’s deadly dust pollution

Time to hold polluters to account

Dust pollution is choking Dhaka once again. A sharp drop in temperatures and wind speed, combined with vehicle and industrial emissions, dust from building sites and smoke from the burning of waste, has increased pollution in the capital. Although Dhaka has repeatedly been labeled as one of the 10 most polluted cities in the world, it has not taken consistent and prudent action on it.

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.  Dust 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. Health experts warn of long-term respiratory diseases as well as serious health problems due to dust pollution unless city environment is made cleaner.

Though Dhaka has repeatedly been labeled

 as one of the 10 most polluted cities in the world,

 it has failed to integrate any consistent

 and prudent action on pollution

It is disconcerting to learn from a World Health Organisation (WHO) report that Dhaka’s air quality has been ranked as third most polluted in the world.  According to sources, over 37,000 Bangladeshis die annually from diseases related to air pollution. It is further disturbing to note that another report conducted by 1800 scientists of different universities of USA revealed that Bangladeshi people lose about 2 years of average lifespan due to air pollution.

Dust pollution takes a serious turn during the dry seasons (winter) every year that seriously affects public health. Departments concerned must play their role accordingly to control unusual growth of dust as well as other air pollutants. Of late, the capital city of Bangladesh has been ranked the worst in the Air Quality Index (AQI) for the third consecutive time. Such a severe air quality rating for Dhaka should compel the authorities concerned towards a decisive shift in policy. It is time to recognize the gravity of WHO warning about air pollution being the new tobacco and act accordingly.