Despite the rainfall that occurred last night, Dhaka finds itself in the unenviable position of ranking 4th on the global list of cities with the worst air quality.
At 8:45 am this morning, on May 22, 2023, the air quality index (AQI) in Dhaka stood at 156. Pakistan’s Lahore, China’s Shenyang, and Indonesia’s Jakarta claimed the top three spots on the list, with AQI scores of 198, 174, and 160, respectively.
The AQI values offer insights into the severity of air pollution. When the AQI for particle pollution falls between 101 and 150, the air quality is deemed “unhealthy for sensitive groups.” In the range of 151 to 200, it is classified as “unhealthy,” while readings between 201 and 300 are considered “very unhealthy.” A reading of 301 or higher is labeled as “hazardous,” posing severe health risks to residents.
Bangladesh employs the AQI based on five primary pollutants, namely particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5), NO2, CO, SO2, and Ozone.
Unfortunately, Dhaka has been struggling with air pollution for a considerable period. It comes as no surprise that air pollution consistently ranks as one of the leading risk factors for death and disability worldwide.
Dhaka Ranks First in World’s Worst Air Quality List
Dhaka Leads Global Cities in Poor Air Quality with AQI of 186 Dhaka, as of 9:10 am today, holds the unenviable top spot for the world’s worst air quality, scoring 186 on the AQI index. The air in Dhaka is categorized as ‘unhealthy,’ according to the air quality and pollution city ranking. Other cities in the top four include Delhi (India), Shenyang (China), and Sarajevo (Bosnia Herzegovina) with AQI scores of 181, 177, and 174, respectively.
An AQI between 151 and 200 is considered ‘unhealthy,’ while 201-300 is ‘very unhealthy,’ and 301-400 is deemed ‘hazardous,’ posing severe health risks to residents. The AQI, an index reporting daily air quality, assesses the cleanliness or pollution levels and potential health effects associated with a city’s air. Bangladesh’s AQI considers five pollutants: particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5), NO2, CO, SO2, and ozone.
Ongoing Opposition Blockades Record 253 Arson Incidents Since Oct’s End
As of 6 am today (Tuesday, December 05), a total of 253 incidents of arson have been documented during the blockades and strikes organized by BNP, Jamaat, and similar opposition factions since the conclusion of October. The most recent case occurred between 6 am on December 4 and the present moment, marking the second day of the ongoing road, rail, and waterways blockade declared by the opposition.
The specific incident transpired at 2:23 pm on Monday in Dhaka’s Gulistan area, as reported by Shahjahan Sikder, Deputy Assistant Director of the Media Cell at the Fire Service and Civil Defence headquarters. Firefighters from two units engaged in a collective effort, with a total of 10 personnel, to extinguish the flames.
Taking a brief hiatus, the BNP and affiliated opposition groups plan to initiate another 48-hour blockade encompassing roads, railways, and water routes nationwide. This protest is in response to the Election Commission’s (EC) recently disclosed schedule for the upcoming national election.
PM Sheikh Hasina Advocates River Conservation in Development Plans
On Monday (December 04), Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina emphasized the importance of environmental preservation in all development plans. During a meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office, she urged authorities to prioritize waste management and water flow maintenance in city planning.
PM expressed regret over past unplanned development, particularly during the illegal assumption of power in 1975, which neglected environmental concerns and led to river encroachments.
She highlighted her government’s commitment to protecting rivers, restoring navigability, and preventing pollution. Hasina recalled initiating river dredging during her first term and stressed the need for ongoing efforts to combat river erosion. The Prime Minister addressed the issue of industries and sewage lines dumping waste into rivers, causing increased pollution, citing the unpleasant state of the Buriganga River.
Emphasizing waste management as a top priority, Hasina suggested establishing small treatment plants across Dhaka to safeguard the capital’s rivers. She underscored the necessity of preserving Bangladesh’s rivers despite the inevitability of floods and emphasized creating buffer zones along rivers for water preservation during the rainy season.
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