Thursday, June 20, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

Every citizen is entitled to clean air

Poor air quality costs residents of Dhaka as much as a decade of their lifespan

Update : 24 Nov 2022, 02:00 PM

Among Bangladesh's biggest challenges in the immediate future is addressing its worsening air quality issue, particularly in the capital city of Dhaka, which with an air quality index (AQI) score of 196 at 9.15 am on Wednesday was close to “very unhealthy” levels.

Unfortunately, this very unhealthy and sometimes even hazardous reading of our air quality has become the norm, especially during the dry, colder months of winter. Year after year, Dhaka continues to rank as having one of the worst qualities of air, and for whatever reason, it is an issue that constantly fails to get the attention it very seriously warrants.

Poor air quality costs residents of Dhaka as much as a decade of their lifespan on average, and is responsible for the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives due to numerous diseases. And yet, we have utterly failed to make Dhaka's air safe to breathe. 

Yes, we continue to develop at a rapid rate, but one of the ramifications of this unchecked urbanization and growth has been the degradation of our environment and the worsening of our air quality.

We cannot forget that, while this is the decade we graduate to a middle income economy, we have also committed to the Sustainable Development Goals, and it goes without saying that poisoning our air does not align with sustainable development.

Ultimately, it is the same culprits that continue to be the major reason for our terrible air quality, from the brick kilns operating with impunity around Dhaka to the urban traffic and polluting industries. If Bangladesh is indeed to become an economy that the world will take seriously, it cannot have a capital whose citizens are quite literally choking on the air they are breathing.

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