Air pollution is one of the causes of severe heat wave
Along with climate change, air pollution is also responsible for the cause of heat waves across southern Asia. Due to the ability of dust particles and polluted gases to absorb heat, the dust particles and gaseous substances in highly polluted air contribute to heat flow by absorbing the sun’s temperature.
Professor Dr. Ahmad Kamruzzaman Majumdar, the founding chairman of the Center for Atmospheric Pollution Studies (CAPS) and atmospheric scientists, said,
“Besides, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide play a role in increasing the temperature. Therefore, it is necessary to reduce air pollution to reduce the increase in temperature.”
He said this at a human chain organized by the Center for Atmospheric Pollution Studies (CAPS) demanding effective measures to reduce air pollution at Shahbagh Square in Dhaka on March 04, 2023.
The human chain was co-hosted by Bangladesh Nature Conservation Alliance (BNCA), BARCIK, Save Future Bangladesh, GLTS Bangladesh, Green Voice, Paribash Udyog, CPRD, CGED, and Youthnet for Climate justice. The Human chain made four demands and 15 points of recommendations to control air pollution.
Professor Dr. Ahmad Kamruzzaman Majumdar also said that recently the environmental pollution of Bangladesh had reached such a level that various cities in Bangladesh are slowly losing their livability.
However, no significant coordinated initiative is being taken to reduce air pollution in the country. Rather, new areas of air pollution are constantly being created. Without action to reduce air pollution quickly, people’s lives will become more miserable.
He also emphasized afforestation and conservation of wetlands to reduce air pollution and temperature. Architect Iqbal Habib, the joint editor of Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (BAPA), said that our future generation would grow up with physical disabilities due to air pollution.
From this place, we are responsible to future generations. Surely, we will turn around. Allah Subhan Allahu Taala has given us a country where seeds grow into trees; only by nurturing can we eliminate this harmful air pollution. Today we pledge to rebuild this city and work together to make it happen.
Professor Dr. Adil Mohammad Khan, a teacher at Jahangirnagar University and Executive Director of the Regional Planning Department, Institute for Planning and Development (IPD), said, “Air pollution in Bangladesh is now at an alarming pace, but the state is silent here.”
Most of the research on air pollution is done by private enterprises. A few government studies are measuring the air quality in a small area, but there is no way to understand the critical condition of the entire city. But the state should have officially discussed everyone, researched, and decided what to do.
Alamgir Kabir, Joint Secretary of BAPA, said we are gradually becoming a sick nation due to air pollution.
All must work together with the government to control air pollution regularly. The government has to implement laws to reduce the sources of pollution at various levels.
Md. Jahangir Alam, the coordinator of BARSIK, said, “Air pollution has become a threat to our existence. This air pollution endangers people’s lives in all our urban areas.”
A city is considered a place of a better life. But due to unplanned development, smoke from brick kilns, vehicles, and industries, the Cities’ air is constantly getting polluted, and the environment is becoming unlivable daily. So, it is essential to take steps now to reduce air pollution.
Sohanur Rahman, Executive coordinator of Youthnet for Climate Justice, said government action to combat deadly air pollution is a duty and a moral imperative.
Because it undermines our children’s and young people’s right to breathe clean, our dire health risks are increasing due to air pollution. Therefore, the government should avoid dualism and take the initiative in establishing environmental justice today, now.
Gulshan Ara Latifa, Professor of Environmental Science at Stamford University, Bangladesh, said, “Dhaka is known as a densely populated area on the one hand, and the amount of air pollution is also increasing daily.
Due to this, health risks, environmental degradation, and various resources are being damaged. To protect ourselves from this situation, we need to plant many trees.
Mahmuda Islam, the coordinator of the environmental initiative, said, “Despite Dhaka being among the top ten cities in terms of air pollution, no integrated initiative is visible.
Moreover, the laws and regulations need to be followed properly, and trees are being cut down. We are slowly moving toward a terrifying future.
Four demands and 15 recommendations are highlighted for controlling air pollution from this human chain.”
The Demands are:
- To reduce the severe impact of air pollution in the future, the Air Pollution (Control) Rules, 2022 require maintaining the previous standard of PM2.5 of at least 15 micrograms per cubic meter.
- The Air Pollution (Control) Rules 2022 will further strengthen the emission standards and review and include the stack emission standards in the upcoming Integrated Energy and Power Master Plan (IEPMP).
- According to order No. 19 of page 16 of the air pollution prevention guidelines issued by the Department of Environment, Petro Bangla must ensure low sulfur (50 ppm) in imported diesel.
- According to Schedule-1 of the new Environment Protection Rules-2023, coal and oil-based thermal power plants (up to 50 MW) and gas-based thermal power plants (up to 100 MW) are orange-class industrial establishments, which should classify as red.
The Recommendations are:
The illegal brick kilns must shut down, advanced technology must introduce, and the use of sand bricks should increase gradually as an alternative to burnt bricks.
- The authority must control private vehicles and unfit vehicles. If necessary, an even-odd system of cars can introduce according to the number plates.
- Construction sites should cordon off during construction, and materials should cover during transportation.
- According to the directions of the Bangladesh Hon’ble High Court, during the dry season, the City Corporations, Bangladesh Fire Service and Civil Defense, Dhaka WASA, and Department of Environment (Bangladesh), should arrange water sprinkling every two to three hours daily in the polluted cities.
- Suction trucks can be used to collect street dust.
- Separate cycle lanes should provide throughout the cities.
- Reservoirs should conserve around polluted cities.
- Developmental activities should coordinate through the introduction of city governance. Service organization’s development activities should complete quickly through coordination.
- Clean Air Act should be enacted as soon as possible.
- The annual budget allocation of the Ministry of Environment should be increased for environmental protection and creating awareness. Regular Air Monitoring Stations (CAMS) should be extended to cover all areas of Dhaka city. Also, air pollution forecasting should practice.
- Development of traffic system including public transport.
- Environment Cadre Service and Environment Police should launch, and Environment Court should improve.
- Pollution control will be easier if all types of industrial factories (red, orange category) are kept under constant monitoring of pollution emission levels by the Department of Environment using Real-Time Monitoring technology.
- Above all, air pollution can be controlled across the country, including Dhaka, by arranging more information-based programs about air pollution in various media to create awareness.