A global study has warned that the air quality in Bangladesh has been falling fast since 2010, with the concentration of a dangerous substance known as particulate matter or PM 2.5 in the air over 10 times the maximum level set by the World Health Organization (WHO).
WHO has set the safe level of the substance to 10'g/m3 (one-millionth of a gram) while it was 101'g/m3 in Bangladesh's air in 2016, according to the State of Global Air-2018 report, released in the United States on Tuesday.
Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India have experienced the steepest increases in air pollution levels since 2010 and now have the highest sustained concentration of dangerous matter in the air, the report said.
A survey conducted from 2013 to 2016 by the Department of Environment (DoE) of Bangladesh on the air quality in Dhaka detected that of the PM 2.5 in the capital city, 58 percent comes from traditional brick fields while road dust is liable for 15 percent and motor vehicles 10.4 percent.
The DoE in its annual report for 2016-17 highlighted some of the government's initiatives to control air pollution. These include modernization of brick kilns, controlling black-smoke-emitting motor vehicles, and creating mass awareness to remove man-made causes of air pollution.
The report of the Boston-based Health Effects Institute (HEI) also raised a danger signal saying 95 percent of the world’s population is inhaling unsafe air, and most of them live in underdeveloped countries.
The report noted that over one third of the world's population is exposed to polluted air from the burning of solid fuels for heating or cooking indoors, and this polluted air has caused the deaths of three million people in India and China and another three million around the world.
Referring to a report by HEI, the DoE said diseases related to air pollution causes over 122,000 deaths in Bangladesh each year.
The HEI report said exposure to air pollution leads to strokes, heart attacks, lung cancer, and chronic lung disease, causing many premature deaths.
It also said that air pollution is the fourth-highest cause of death globally, coming in below high blood pressure, poor diet, and smoking.
According to the report, air pollution is below the WHO benchmark in Australia, Brunei, Canada, Estonia, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, New Zealand, Sweden, and several Pacific island nations while it is much higher than safe levels in Niger, Egypt, Cameroon, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar.