Govt inaction to blame: Experts | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 25, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:25 AM, February 25, 2018


Govt inaction to blame: Experts

Air pollution in Dhaka city is worsening day by day in the absence of proper monitoring and necessary steps by the government, said environment experts.

They said it is possible to control the air pollution, especially the unusual growth of dust, if the authorities concerned, including the city corporations, Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) and Dhaka Wasa, carry out their duties properly.

While talking to the news agency, Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (Bapa) General Secretary MA Matin said dust pollution can be controlled to some extent if the Department of Environment enforces the relevant laws during the construction of buildings and roads.

He also suggested using modern techniques for cleaning city roads, spraying water to stop dust from spreading during construction works, and keeping construction materials and sites under cover.

Ainun Nishat, professor emeritus at Brac University, said Bangladesh ranks second among global cities when it comes to pollution.

He pointed out that the city corporation cleaners, who remove dirt and dust from roads, in fact deposit those from one place to another.

"It doesn't actually help as the dirt remains. Elsewhere in the world, cleaners use water every day to remove dust from roads…," he added.

According to a survey conducted in 2013 by Norway's Institute of Air Research, 58 percent of Dhaka's pollution is caused by the nearby brick kilns, 18-19 percent by vehicles, 10 percent by road/soil dust and 8-9 percent by building construction activities.

It was also found that the root causes for pollution vary from city to city. In the case of Dhaka, for example, it is brick kilns, for Chittagong it is industrial smoke emission, and for Narayanganj and Gazipur factory emission.

As per a daily air quality report from February 17 by the Meteorological Department's Clean Air and Sustainable Environment project, the air of Narayanganj was said to be the most unhealthy, followed by Dhaka, Gazipur, Chittagong, Khulna and Sylhet.

A Unicef report in October, 2017, said 8,500 children die due to air pollution-related diseases in Bangladesh every year.

Contacted, Environment and Forestry Minister Anisul Islam Mahmud said there is a lack of magistrates in his ministry to conduct mobile courts to prevent air pollution caused by building and road construction.

"Sending requests for external magistrates from the District Commissioner's office is a time-consuming practice. And this is how things get delayed," he added.

Contacted, Director General of the Directorate General Health service (DGHS) Prof Abul Kalam Azad said the number of people getting affected by dust pollution is on the rise. He urged the citizens to use masks while moving outdoors.

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