Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader has called on two Dhaka mayors to take emergency steps to curb the city’s air pollution.
Highlighting the danger of air pollution, the road transport and bridges minister made the call from a roadshow for safe roads at the Matsya Bhaban intersection on Tuesday.
Dhaka topped the list of cities on the poor air quality index due to heavy dust particles found in the air in winter.
On Jan 22, the air pollution score was 271 AQI for the capital, which was described as very unhealthy by IQAir, a Swiss group that measures air quality levels. Tuesday’s air pollution score was recorded at 170 AQI, deemed unhealthy. An AQI value of 50 or below represents good air quality, while an AQI value over 300 represents hazardous air quality.
The minister said it’s a man-made crisis and a shame as the air pollution condition in the capital reached a threatening level despite the country’s achievement in the development sector.
“Bangladesh’s development is a wonder to the world, but it's a shame that the air pollution level in the country’s capital is at its worst,” Quader said.
He blamed ongoing development projects and the negligence of the authorities for the crisis, calling for the mayors to take immediate measures, such as the regular spray of water on the road.
Quader also called on the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change to emphasise teamwork to improve the city’s air quality, asking the authorities to monitor the manufacture of traditional bricks around the city.
“Traditional bricks manufactured by burning the topsoil of the agricultural lands are damaging the environment,” he added.
The minister said bringing order to the transport sector is a top priority as the World Bank has initiated a project worth Tk 50 billion, which is set to be sent to the planning ministry for its approval, to improve the country’s air pollution level.