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Dhaka Tribune

Amar Ekushey Book Fair: Visitors and vendors don masks to tackle dust dilemma

  • The apparent lack of effective dust management measures by fair authorities
  • Visitors and stall vendors voice their distress over the situation
Update : 10 Feb 2024, 10:38 AM

The ongoing Amar Ekushey Book Fair witnessed a bustling turnout on Friday, with publishers and booksellers immersed in busy activities.

However, amidst the excitement, concerns over dust pollution surfaced, drawing complaints from numerous visitors and publication stall staff regarding the apparent lack of effective dust management measures by fair authorities.

When approached by this correspondent regarding the dust pollution problem, Dr AKM Mujahidul Islam, a member secretary of the Fair Organising Committee, denied its existence. He showed a video from a staff member's WhatsApp, claiming no visible dust pollution within the fair premises. However, the video failed to capture the extent of the dust problem.

Contrary to Dr Islam's assertion, observations by this correspondent revealed widespread suffering among fair attendees due to dust pollution in various areas. Many were seen wearing masks or covering their faces with scarves or hands, exacerbating their discomfort, particularly amidst cold weather and prevailing allergies.

Dr Islam emphasized the financial constraints faced by the committee, noting a lack of government grants. He stated that despite efforts to water the fair premises nightly to mitigate dust pollution, extensive measures like brick installation would require significant funding, impacting other essential aspects of the fair.

Visitors and stall vendors voiced their distress over the situation, emphasizing the urgent need for action. Tajwar Kawsar, a seller from Genius Publications, described dust pollution as a serious problem, urging fair authorities to intervene promptly. However, some individuals like Anisul Huq from Prothoma Publications downplayed the issue, stating personal resilience to dust inhalation.

As the fair coincided with the weekend, heavy foot traffic compounded the dust problem, with reports of congestion along major roads like Shahbagh to TSC and Nilkhet to TSC Road. Central Library premises also experienced traffic snarls, affecting ordinary students trying to navigate through the crowds and jams.

Despite the fervor surrounding the event, the dust pollution issue remains a pressing concern, highlighting the need for immediate action to ensure a more comfortable and healthier environment for fair attendees and participants alike.

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