Countless health complications, such as problems of the respiratory or immune systems, happen as a result of breathing in polluted air
Air pollution is the bane of existence for residents of Dhaka city. Poor or rich, the air we breathe affects every single one of us, and no matter how hard many of the more affluent segments may try to minimize the damage by staying indoors or commuting in air conditioned vehicles, at the end of the day, they will still be breathing in large amounts of toxic air. This is a problem we cannot outrun, or sweep under the rug.
Once again, our capital city has topped the list of world cities with the most polluted air. Dhaka’s air quality index read 489, which is considered “severe.” AQI is based on five criteria: Particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and ozone. Our performance in targeting and minimizing these elements has been woeful. It is all more shocking that this dismal ranking comes during the pandemic -- at time when vehicular movement and public activity should be minimal.
It must be understood that air pollution is not simply an irritant that can be ignored while residents go about their daily lives. Like the Covid-19 pandemic which we are dealing with along with the rest of the world, air pollution is a grave, public health hazard. It is long overdue for us to treat this problem as a health issue. Countless health complications, such as problems of the respiratory or immune systems, happen as a result of breathing in polluted air. The quality of life for Bangladeshis, particularly those in the capital, cannot be improved if the air pollution problem keeps getting worse.