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Winter’s intense air pollution


Dhaka has now become one of the worst victims of air pollution globally during the winter. The situation has deteriorated to the extent that alongside winter, air pollution is increasing in the capital. Construction work increases dust as the dry season sets in. With increased vehicular traffic, there’s more smoke being emitted. Since the onset of winter, there has been a rise in hospital visits due to respiratory illnesses. Concurrently, regional high-pressure systems are actively affecting Bangladesh. With winter intensifying and air quality deteriorating, urgent attention needs to be given to activities like road wetting, controlling vehicular emissions, among others, to prevent the situation from worsening.
The government needs to pay special attention to controlling air pollution in Dhaka. With the likelihood of increased pollution, urgent warnings have been issued in Bangladesh and other countries including India. Various initiatives and advisories are issued by the government to reduce pollution. Widespread campaigns for mask usage are conducted. However, there’s no visible action from any environmental department or related authorities on this matter.
Since November this year, there have been days in Dhaka when at least one day out of every three days, the city becomes the most polluted in the world. The elderly, children, those with respiratory and complex diseases are most at risk when pollution levels rise. The lifespan of buses in Dhaka is around 70% lower than normal due to heavy usage, but authorities show no concern regarding this issue.
On the other hand, at least 50 locations in the dry season in Dhaka city are designated for waste burning. There are around 1200 brick kilns and several thousand small and large industrial factories surrounding Dhaka, which are major contributors to pollution. Research indicates that over 50% of the country’s air pollution comes from industrial factories. Yet, there’s no attention paid to local sources and changes, resulting in air quality being worse than before.
As a consequence, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for the current generation to maintain good physical health. Environmental departments, city development authorities, city corporations, even public health departments are not paying attention to effectively managing air quality. Therefore, the government must now focus specifically on controlling Dhaka’s air pollution without wasting any time. It is appropriate for the government to implement artificial rain systems like in other countries worldwide, to reduce health risks for ordinary people.”

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