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POST TIME: 23 November, 2019 00:00 00 AM
Alarming condition of Dhaka air

Alarming condition of Dhaka air

With winter not too far away, Dhaka was ranked the third worst city in the Air Quality Index (AQI) yesterday with a score of 199 at 9am, indicating that the air quality was ‘unhealthy’. On the same day, Lahore in Pakistan and Delhi in India occupied the first and second positions with a score of 417 and 338 respectively. For the past few days, the three major cities in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan have been registering the top three slots in terms of worst air quality. Dhaka ranked the worst in AQI for the third consecutive day on Tuesday.

The air quality is categorised as good when the AQI score is between 0-50 while the air is moderate when the number is 51-100. When the score is between 101 and 150, the air is classified as unhealthy for sensitive groups. But a score between 151 and 200 means that the air is unhealthy and when the number is between 201 and 300, the air is classified as very unhealthy. Since Dhaka has scored 199, it means that the quality of air has deteriorated significantly and with a dry season upon us, the condition may exacerbate.

As it is, winter in Bangladesh always brings plenty of dust and in the last decade, the amount of dust in the air has seen a sharp rise with too many sites of construction work going around. Dhaka residents had started to use face masks to safeguard them from the pollution long ago but the new statistics actually show how grave the situation really is. The rise of respiratory diseases among city dwellers indicate that the air is taking its toll but wearing masks, using inhalers do not offer long term solution at all.

When Dhaka’s air was getting worse, the authorities did not pay the needed attention and now, with the pollution way above the permissible level, city residents are having toxic air to inhale. The situation may not be as appalling as that in Delhi but unless measures are taken now, the consequences in the future will be too complex to handle. A recent survey showed that 40 per cent of the country’s population comprises children, who are at risk of developing health complications unless the air quality improves.

The approach of the authority should include, minimizing cars on city streets, banning unfit vehicles, encouraging apartments to keep a space for greenery and making it a rule for all academic institutions to have a green campus.