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Poisoning the air

  • Published at 12:03 am April 7th, 2019
Air Pollution
File photo: Dhaka has ranked 24th on the world Air Quality Index Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

Air pollution worldwide is responsible for far more deaths than other known risk factors

A damning new study reports that at least 123,000 people have died in Bangladesh because of indoor and outdoor air pollution.

The report, titled State of Global Air 2019, concludes that the quality of the air in our country is so hazardous that it stands to shorten the life of a child by 30 months on average.

Surely, it is a matter of grave concern when the very air we breathe is killing us.

Much has been written about the toxic air of our cities, but very little has been done to improve it. While we have a draft law, the Clean Air Act 2019, waiting to be ratified, it is imperative that we do not delay on any process which could help reduce the levels of pollution in our country.

Air pollution worldwide is responsible for far more deaths than other known risk factors such as malnutrition, substance abuse, and physical inactivity -- China and India, together, were responsible for over half of the total attributable global deaths, with each country witnessing over 1.2 million deaths from all air pollution in 2017. 

Clearly, this is an issue we cannot afford to be lax about -- especially as a nation that is trying to achieve ambitious development goals.

Brick kilns, vehicular emissions, and construction work are some of the biggest contributors of air pollution in our country. Brick kilns, though, are by far the biggest culprits, accounting for a staggering 58% of the overall air pollution.

Needless to say, industries cannot be allowed to pollute our environment with such impunity any longer. We have to seek cleaner, more sustainable means of production.

Until the air we breathe is cleaned up, it will be impossible to truly improve the quality of life for those who live here.