• Wednesday, Oct 20, 2021
  • Last Update : 12:08 am

Poison in the air

  • Published at 12:02 am December 27th, 2019
Air pollution

We cannot combat air pollution with ad hoc policies

This is getting ridiculous.

The fact that Dhaka has consistently ranked as having the worst air in the Air Quality Index shocks next to no one.

With the city bearing witness to unchecked industrialization, unregulated construction projects, and, not to mention, all the brick kilns that dot its outskirts, the impact on the environment was bound to be significant.

However, the prospect of the very air that we breathe taking a severe toll on our health, and potentially shortening our life, is unacceptable, and points to an egregious miscalculation on the part of the administration in terms of environmental integrity.

Indeed, as a country that is set to be impacted severely by the ravages of climate change, it is simply unacceptable for the government not to take air pollution more seriously.

An AQI between 101 and 150 is already considered to be unhealthy for sensitive groups, but a score of 348 -- as it was recorded on Thursday morning at 8am -- should be ringing alarm bells across the city. Any score that exceeds 300 is hazardous for everyone.

Dhaka’s air pollution, as it stands, is so severe that people are advised to avoid any and all outdoor activities. This is an administrative failing through and through.

While recently we witnessed some steps being taken in the form of the High Court’s order to shut down the many brick kilns which are operating illegally, the slipshod nature of the ruling and how it is being carried out does not inspire much hope that the air will become more breathable in the near future.

We cannot combat air pollution with ad hoc policies, more so ones that should have been enforced at least a decade ago. It requires long term commitment to truly change the way the city operates, but that requires air pollution to be a priority for the government.

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