Dhaka’s air quality was marked as ‘unhealthy’ this morning, with an air quality index (AQI) score of 122 at 9:05 am. This placed Dhaka 11th on the list of cities worldwide with the worst air quality. Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait City in Kuwait, and Jakarta in Indonesia occupied the top three spots on the list with AQI scores of 186, 162, and 158, respectively.
An AQI between 101 and 150 is considered ‘unhealthy’, while a reading of 301+ is considered ‘hazardous’. This poses serious health risks to residents. In Bangladesh, the AQI is based on five criteria pollutants: Particulate Matter (PM10 and PM2.5), NO2, CO, SO2, and Ozone.
Dhaka has long been grappling with air pollution issues. Its air quality usually turns unhealthy in winter and improves during the monsoon. Air pollution consistently ranks among the top risk factors for death and disability worldwide. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), air pollution kills an estimated seven million people worldwide every year due to increased mortality from stroke, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, and acute respiratory infections.
While the situation remains critical, there is room for optimism. Dhaka’s air quality was labeled as ‘unhealthy for sensitive groups’ during this morning’s assessment. This classification highlights the need for targeted efforts to safeguard the vulnerable segments of the population, such as children, the elderly, and individuals with preexisting health conditions.
Thanks to recent rainfall, Dhaka’s air quality registered as ‘moderate’ this morning. Rain emerges as a natural ally in the fight against air pollution. This respite offers a glimpse of the positive impact that favorable weather conditions can have on mitigating pollution levels. However, it’s essential to recognize that these improvements are temporary, and a sustained commitment to addressing air pollution is indispensable.
The challenge of improving air quality is not limited to government entities alone. It’s a shared responsibility that involves the active participation of industries, communities, and individuals. Adoption of cleaner energy sources, sustainable transportation practices, and stringent emission regulations are integral components of a comprehensive strategy to combat air pollution.
In conclusion, the recurring episode of ‘unhealthy’ air quality in Dhaka serves as a wake-up call for immediate action. While the city grapples with the multifaceted issue of air pollution, concerted efforts and innovative solutions are necessary to pave the way for a cleaner, healthier future. The health and well-being of Dhaka’s residents hinge on the collective determination to address this critical challenge head-on.