Brick kilns are the leading cause of air pollution in the country, while vehicular emissions have been identified as the second largest contributor.
There are about 5000 brick kilns in Bangladesh, which are largely responsible for air pollution, and the increasing number of vehicles is creating concomitant pressure on air quality, Dr Ashraf Ali of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) told a workshop Thursday, while presenting the draft of National Action Plan for Reduction of Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (SLCPs).
The Department of Environment (DoE), in association with Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) and BUET, organised the workshop.
Additional Secretary of Ministry of Environment and Forests Aparup Chowdhury and the Executive Director of SEI, at the University of York, UK Dr Johan Kuylenstierna, among others, addressed the inaugural session of the workshop, chaired by Director General of Department of Environment Md Golam Rabbani.
Chairman of the Forum of Environmental Journalists of Bangladesh (FEJB) Quamrul Islam Chowdhury, teachers, engineers and officials concerned, attended the workshop.
In his presentation, Dr Ashraf said that DoE roadside measures, carried out in 2011, found that more than 60% of diesel fleets fail to meet emission standards. Additionally, a roadside inspection under the ongoing CASE project identified motorcycles and diesel vehicles as the worst polluters.
Traditional brick kilns should adopt modern technology to reduce air pollution, he added. Environment experts said alongside two major sources of air pollution -- traditional cooking stoves, rice parboiling mills, paddy fields, solid waste and livestock are also responsible for black carbon and methane emission which further pollute the country's air.
The country consumes low quality diesel, which contributes significantly to air pollution as emission rates of substandard quality diesel is very high, they added.
The experts suggested that superior quality diesel be imported to lower black carbon emissions. Rabbani said that the government is working to formulate the National Action Plan for Reducing Short Lived Climate Pollutants (SLCPs), and incorporating suggestions and recommendations from all stakeholders to improve air quality in the nation.