Saturday, 1 April, 2023

Cry for clean air going unheeded!

Cry for clean air going unheeded!

To demonstrate the gravity of air pollution in Dhaka a vernacular daily came out with a startling figure that the city dwellers, mainly in the outskirts, on average are consuming 200 gram of dust per day. That is on top of the inhalation of various kinds of toxic chemicals that pollute the capital’s air. It is already evident that air pollution is taking a heavy toll on public health. One example can be found in the recent rise in chronic respiratory diseases, particularly among children.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has also said that air pollution in Bangladesh has reached an alarming proportion. Air quality in major Bangladesh cities is among the worst in the world. The air in our cities is rife with various contaminants including particles, liquids and gases that can be breathed deep into the lungs. Once these harmful contaminants are inhaled, it may cause myriad types of ailments such as asthma, cardiovascular diseases and cancer. And when children inhale polluted air, their lungs may get damaged.

Yet, this is one aspect of pollution which has not received adequate attention. The ruling class remained as indifferent as ever towards air pollution. As a result, the problem is only growing by default. Constant road digging for various purposes and construction projects are throwing up enormous amounts of dust into the air. At the same time, emissions of motorised vehicles and industries are wreaking havoc on the city's atmosphere. But hardly anyone is held responsible for this particular offence.

We are not suggesting that wheels of the vehicles or development and industrial activities should be stopped. Rather it is hoped that the authorities concerned will take into account the causes of air pollution and adopt the right policy and procedures to mitigate pollution. The authorities were seen taking some piecemeal steps like sprinkling of water on roads, which is far from enough. Giant vacuum cleaners can be used to suck dust and harmful particles from the air. Air pollution is a silent killer and something must be done to check it in all earnest.