Monday, 17 January, 2022

Dhaka’s Nagging Air Pollution

Rustle up spl plan to control dust in winter: Experts

Rustle up spl plan to control dust in winter: Experts
Vehicles ply a dusty road in the capital’s Gabtoli area on Friday. —SUN photo

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The authorities need to work out a special action plan to control Dhaka's terrible dust pollution as it turns worse in every winter, particularly from November to February, posing a serious health hazard to city dwellers, said environmental experts.

With the advent of winter, the city's air quality starts deteriorating sharply due to the massive discharge of pollutant particles from construction works, rundown roads, brick kilns and other sources, they said.

To control the dust pollution, the experts suggested sweeping the city's roads with water regularly, covering construction sites and materials, and stopping the movement of overloaded and unfit motor vehicles in the city, reports UNB.

Ainun Nishat, Professor Emeritus at BRAC University, told UNB that dust particles from construction sites, earth filing and roads, black smoke from overloaded motor vehicles and traditional brick kilns located surrounding Dhaka are largely responsible for making the city's air quality in winter even worse.

He said brick kilns remain in operation in the winter season, badly polluting the city's air with the discharge of thick black smoke. "So, the brick kilns should be modernised as soon as possible," he added.

City roads in the developed countries are regularly washed with river water to control air pollution, Prof Nishat said, adding that the Dhaka roads should also be swept with water every day, especially during the dry season.

"Dust pollution is there in almost every country and they've their own plans to minimize it. But we make no effort to control it in our country," said Prof Nishat.

The environmental expert suggested covering construction sites, spraying water on construction materials, and checking overloaded motor vehicles, which are mainly responsible for emitting black smoke.

Prof Dr Ahmad Kamruzzaman Majumder, the founder and director of Centre for Atmospheric Pollution Studies (CAPS) of Stamford University Bangladesh, said the Dhaka city dwellers witness 70 percent air pollution in five months from October to February every year due to the rise in dust particles in its air amid the absence of rains.

"But no initiative from the government is seen to check the pollution in the dry season, which causes serious health hazards to the city's dwellers," he said.  Prof Majumder said 12 percent air pollution is seen from June to August, while 17 percent from March to May.