Dhaka air ‘hazardous’

22 December, 2020 12:00 AM printer

Dhaka air ‘hazardous’

Deadly Dust - A man and his minor son cover their faces by hands amid heavy dust as Dhaka continues to grapple with severe air pollution during this dry season. The snap was taken from Chunkuthia area in Keraniganj on the outskirts of the capital on Monday. —Reyad Hossain

Dhaka, one the most polluted cities in the world, ranked worst in the Air Quality Index (AQI) on Monday morning, reports UNB.

 It had a score of 323 at 10:35 am. The air was classified as ‘hazardous’ and in this condition, everyone may experience more serious health effects.

When the AQI value is more than 300, people are advised to avoid all outdoor exertion.

Pakistan’s Lahore and India’s Kolkata occupied the second and third spots in the list with scores of 294 and 293 respectively.

The AQI, an index for reporting the daily air quality, informs people how clean or polluted the air of a certain city is and what associated health effects might be a concern for them.

In Bangladesh, the AQI is based on five criteria pollutants - Particulate Matter (PM10 and PM2.5), NO2, CO, SO2 and Ozone. Bangladesh topped the list of the world’s most polluted countries in 2019 for PM2.5 exposure, according to an IQAir AirVisual report.

The 2019 World Air Quality Report is based on data from the world’s largest centralised platform for real-time air quality data, combining efforts from thousands of initiatives run by citizens, communities, companies, non-profit organisations and governments.

 It includes only PM2.5 (fine particulate matter) data as acquired from ground-based air quality monitoring stations with high data availability.

To track outdoor air quality, the report focused on the concentrations of two pollutants in particular: fine particle air pollution (particulate matter measuring less than 2.5 micrometers in aerodynamic diameter, or PM2.5) and ozone found near ground level (tropospheric ozone).

This assessment also tracked exposure to household air pollution from burning fuels such as coal, wood, or biomass for cooking.

Air pollution consistently ranks among the top risk factors for death and disability worldwide. Breathing polluted air has long been recognized as increasing a person’s chances of developing heart disease, chronic respiratory diseases, lung infections, and cancer, according to the report.