Bangladesh’s air pollution does not receive any attention from the government as if people’s health and life does not matter to them.
According to a report in this newspaper yesterday, life expectancy of city residents is cut short by about seven years.
In a written statement Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (BAPA) said the National Institute of Diseases of the Chest and Hospital (NIDCH) in Dhaka treated 210,000 patients in its outdoor and emergency departments in 2021, compared to only 85,000 seven years ago.
Moreover, the number of patients admitted to hospitals and outdoor and emergency departments was over 12,000 in July last year.
In July 2023, that number crossed 14,000. This indicates that air pollution is wreaking havoc on public health.
People in Bangladesh generally have less health awareness than developed regions of the world.
If they could understand the extent of damage the polluted air is causing to their air circulation system including the vital lungs, they would not come out of their homes, or at least have worn face masks as they used to do for preventing the coronavirus during the Covid-19 pandemic for the last couple of years.
Only during the rainy season, air quality improves naturally as flying dust and other pollutants settle on the ground and everything gives a fresh look.
Soon the winter will be approaching us with the air becoming thick with dust and air pollution will be much higher at that time.
Taking advantage of the people’s lack of awareness, authorities, especially the two city corporations as well as the health ministry, are not taking any step to drastically reduce air pollution. This is not acceptable.
They must chalk out elaborate plans to reduce the particulate matter from the air.
That the ever going construction work in the capital is the source of the most dust in air cannot be overestimated.
All construction sites must be brought under effective control so that they do not spread dust in the air.
Similarly, smoke and toxic gases can also be reduced in air by controlling their sources such as unfit vehicles, brick kilns, and coal-fired plants.
The World Bank data say around 200,000 people die in Bangladesh every year because of air pollution related diseases. This number is far greater than the number of annual deaths from road accidents.