Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka ranks second in terms of air pollution, says a latest report by Bostonbased Health Effects Institute. The government, however, refuses to accept that Dhaka’s air quality is so bad. India’s Delhi tops the list while Pakistan’s Karachi and China’s Beijing stand in third and fourth positions. According to the State of Global Air 2017, a new, first annual report and interactive website launched in Boston on February 14, air pollution is the leading environmental cause of death worldwide.
India and Bangladesh have experienced the steepest increases in air pollution levels since 2010 and now have the highest PM2.5 concentrations among the countries. Both the countries experienced some of the largest increases in PM2.5 attributable mortality, on the order of 50 percent to 60 percent. India now approaches China in the number of deaths attributable to PM2.5. The report also finds that 92 percent of the world’s population lives in areas with unhealthy air. The highest concentrations appear in this region due to combustion emissions from multiple sources including household solid fuel use, coal-fired power plants, agricultural and other open burning, and industrial and transportation-related sources. The population-weighted annual average concentrations were 89 μg/m3 in Bangladesh, 75μg/m3 in Nepal, and 74μg/m3 in India. “The report shows Bangladesh in the second position in air pollution. But the state of air in Dhaka does not remain the same throughout the year. It increases in the winter,” the government’s Clean Air and Sustainable Environment Project director Munjurul Hannan Khan told on February 16.
He claimed: “Though Bangladesh has PM2.5 concentration, the other five variables of air never crossed the tolerable levels.” Munjurul also ruled out the report’s claim of 122,000 annual deaths in Bangladesh due to air pollution. He further blamed the ongoing unplanned construction in Dhaka city for the rise in air pollution. “The city corporations should have taken steps,” he added.