Dhaka, Bangladesh
Save city from toxic air

Editorial

Save city from toxic air

We are awfully stunned by a recent report in which Dhaka has featured as the second most polluted city in the world. Due to hazardous levels of air pollution, a parliamentary body on March 6 asked the environment, forest and climate change ministry to take measures so that the health ministry issues a public health alert urging people to avoid visiting the capital city, unless it is an emergency. This proves that air pollution in the city has reached extremely hazardous point. In Bangladesh 56 per cent of air pollution has been attributed to brick kilns. Though the government enacted a law in 2018 to make brick kilns more environment- friendly, more than a quarter of the 7,772 brick kilns in the country do not make that grade. They continue to function as they always do with complete disregard for environment and the health of the people. This is where more stringent enforcement of law is needed. The growing need of the hour is to rein in polluters and look for alternative and greener methods of production. We have been warned of air pollution through various reports over the years. The Greenpeace and Airvisual in its latest report gave us the jitters about the air pollution hazardous. Various reports in the past obviously called for a dramatic action on our part against pollution that is to blame for myriad of deaths. The recent report makes us extremely concerned as air pollution in the capital has taken an alarming turn. Industrial smog, smoke from vehicles and brick kilns and dust from construction sites are the main source of pollution. People with exposure to air polluting particles stand the risks of developing cardiovascular and respiratory diseases and even lung cancer and disorder in the urinary tract or bladder. The adolescent children, elderly people and pregnant women are much more susceptible to this menace. Despite such dour health risks insidiously creeping all over, the authorities have not taken up any major step so far to check air pollution. The top ten causes of deaths in the country including lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and strokes can be directly and indirectly linked to air pollution. As checking air pollution is a public health emergency, initiatives like modernization of brick kilns, improving waste management, phasing out longevity-expired vehicles from roads must be taken immediately to curb air pollution in the city. The government must act right now before it is too late to combat air peril.

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