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Dhaka’s air quality very unhealthy, exceeds 400 in some areas

  • Published at 10:13 am February 20th, 2020
web-dust pollution
Dust pollution has reached an alarming stage in Dhaka, causing many deaths as well as several million cases of illness Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

Areas ajourning Gulshan, Banani and Baridhara were seen exceeding the 400 AQI mark, which indicates the air in those areas to be hazardous

Bangladesh's capital Dhaka continues to face severe air pollution crisis for the last two years, with some areas exceeding the 400 mark on the Air Quality Index (AQI).

According to Air Visual at 12pm, areas adjourning Gulshan, Banani and Baridhara were seen exceeding the 400 AQI mark, which indicates the air in the area to be hazardous.

At the same time, several residential areas in Dhaka, such as Mohammadpur and Lalmatia also showed AQI above 150, indicating the air to be very unhealthy.

For the last two years, Dhaka city has been frequently ranking worst — with a score over 300 — in the World Air Quality Index, which reports daily air quality in cities across the globe.

When the AQI value is between 201 and 300, the entire population is more likely to be affected. In this situation, children are advised to limit outdoor activities.

The overcrowded capital has been grappling with air pollution for a long time. Air quality usually improves during monsoon, but that season also brings on waterlogging and related crises.

The AQI, an index for reporting daily air quality, informs people how clean or polluted the air of a certain city is, and what associated health effects might be a concern for them.

In Bangladesh, the AQI is based on five criteria pollutants -- Particulate Matter (PM10 and PM2.5), NO2, CO, SO2, and Ozone (O3).

The Department of Environment has also set national ambient air quality standards for these pollutants. These standards aim to protect against adverse human health impacts.

Nepal’s Kathmandu and India’s Delhi occupied the second and third spots with AQI scores of 225 and 191, respectively.

Dhaka chokes on air pollution

On November 26 last year, the High Court bench of Justice FRM Nazmul Ahsan and Justice KM Kamrul Kader ordered authorities concerned to shut down illegal brick kilns around Dhaka within 15 days to reduce air pollution.

In a bid to reduce air and dust pollution in the country, the High Court handed down five directives to both Dhaka South and North city corporations, Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (Wasa), Environment Department, and the authorities concerned.

The High Court has ordered both city corporations, Wasa and related organizations to clean roads, pavements and flyovers so that they are free of dust as it contributes to air pollution.

In addition to that, the court also ordered to form an expert committee including the Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) Chief Executive Officer Mostafizur Rahman, DNCC CEO Md Abdul Hai and a doctor from Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), to investigate the reason behind Bangladesh's air and dust pollution.

The High Court also ordered the authorities concerned to submit a probe report on January 5.