Persistent Air Pollution
1,000 metric tonnes of pollutants are pumped into the air of Dhaka city everyday
alone, of which 70 per cent emanates from vehicles. Air pollution of towns and
cities in Bangladesh is a problem that is steadily increasing and though it is
much talked about in seminars and the like, it is unlikely to go away unless
firm action is taken to stop the polluters.
World Bank’s South Asia Environment Unit says 15,000 deaths - and a million
cases of illnesses - could be avoided every year if air pollution over the four
largest cities of Bangladesh could be controlled. We do not have an effective
policy for containing air pollution. What is now needed is an urgent action plan
for containing pollution. Reducing the level of air pollution caused by
two-stroke engines and diesel-operated vehicles.
level of lead in the air is also a major concern and calls for catalytic
converters in cars to become mandatory. New findings are now adding fresh
impetus to this burning issue as hazardous dust particles, carbon monoxide
emission and unburned hydrocarbon fly around in the air causing sickness and
weather condition also contributes to pollution. In the dry season the effects
of air pollution worsen because rain water is not there to dispel it. The
presence of clouds in the sky that remain stagnant, prevent polluted air from
rising up. Unchecked pollution coupled with unfavorable weather patterns can
make polluted air especially dangerous.
we cannot control the weather, we can control pollution if we put our minds to
it. Inaction in checking it is proving to be too costly. Persuading car owners
to convert to CNG does not seem to be a priority even though the cost of
conversion is said to have been subsidised. Nothing has been done to build up
public opinion for a speedy transition to gas-powered autos which can keep
pollution within limits. As weather seems to be an important factor, and with
the dry season fast approaching, it is time we took the needed action or face a
winter accompanied by more ill-health.
The Bangladesh Observer, 12 August, 200