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Dhaka Tribune

Environmentalists concerned about rise in air pollution

Update : 07 Feb 2014, 07:42 PM

Environmental activists yesterday expressed concern at the rising trend in air pollution across the country, which is a threat to public health.

They also urged the government to take the necessary measures to contain the air pollution.

The environmentalists advocated measures including putting a stop to conventional brick fields, and imposition of ban on importing low quality coal, and banning reconditioned vehicles more than 16-year-old – all major contributors to the country’s air pollution.

The environmentalists made their views known at a rally, jointly organised by 13 environmental groups, in front of the National Press Club led by the Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (Bapa).

In his address, Bapa General Secretary Dr Abdul Matin said: “The situation has got worse due to the government’s poor initiatives and poor implementation the existing mechanism related to the control of air pollution.”

A study conducted by the Department for International Development (DFID) in 2000 on the causes of illness and deaths in Bangladesh, says the airborne diseases are one of the major causes of death for Bangladeshi people.

Of the deaths, most are related to chronic cough, respiratory problem, bronchitis, pneumonia and cancer.

Dr Matin added that the air pollution would adversely affect human health if the government failed to stop the current trend in air pollution,

The Bapa general secretary called upon the government to rein in the import of reconditioned old cars into the country as they were one of the major contributors to the country’s air pollution especially in the capital.

Zakir Hossain, executive director of Nagorik Uddyog, said the government should formulate a national policy to check the ongoing trend in air pollution, for the sake of people’s lives.

He said setting up new brick fields using conventional methods had led to the rise in air pollution.

The rights activist advocated the removal of old vehicles from the capital to reduce the level of air pollution.

Bangladesh is the ninth most-polluted country in the world according to the statistics of the global Environmental Performance Index for 2014, published last month.

It has also been listed as the country with the most polluted air quality in the world; the survey was conducted using data from 178 countries.

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