Dhaka has persisted, unfortunately, in being one of the most polluted cities in the world
Air pollution has a steep price, and we all end up paying.
Dhaka has persisted, unfortunately, in being one of the most polluted cities in the world, which will only get worse as dry season approaches.
What is not often spoken about is the economical and financial burden it also places on the city, and the country as a whole.
A recent report by The World Bank stated that Bangladesh loses about $6.5 billion annually due to pollution and environmental degradation in urban areas. Close to $4bn of this has one major culprit -- air pollution.
Dhaka accounts for $1.44bn of the cost, almost 1% of the national GDP.
These are truly astonishing numbers.
We know the chief offenders -- the brick kilns around the city, and the droves of vehicles that congest the city. Not all vehicles, though -- it is mostly the older models, and the diesel-run buses, haulers, and trucks that do the most damage, as most of them fail to comply with the approved emission standards.
We must develop tough legislative measures to tackle at least these major issues. We also need to make sure we implement these measures -- too often, we have had the right laws in place, but no real urgency to implement them.
Since we have failed to care about the environment, our health, and the health of our children, perhaps caring for our money would be a bigger motivator?
As a country looking to achieve upper-middle income status, if there is one thing Bangladesh cannot afford to do, it is letting its money go up in smoke, literally.